Blake Shinn has maintained his winning form after dominating the Brisbane winter carnival. Picture: AAP
Blake Shinn has maintained his winning form after dominating the Brisbane winter carnival. Picture: AAP

Shinn’s sharp focus reaping rewards

JUST about everything Blake Shinn has touched of late has turned to gold - and it's no fluke.

The champion jockey has long been regarded as one of the top 10 hoops in Australia, but few could argue he's now firmly entrenched himself into the top three in Sydney alongside James McDonald and Hugh Bowman.

Shinn based himself in Queensland for the winter and rode 23 metropolitan winners at the astonishing strike rate of 31.1 per cent. To put that in perspective, William Pike's strike rate in WA is 26.6 per cent.

"I've had a great run over the past few months," Shinn said, whose cracking form helped secure a six-month contract to ride in Hong Kong next season.

"I would've been going back and forth up there every weekend for the winter carnival so I thought I'd just stay up there and enjoy the warmer climate.

"I wanted to keep my weight and timing in check. Going to Brisbane was the best way to keep my mind stimulated."

Shinn rode four winners at Canterbury on Wednesday and another one at Hawkesbury a day later. He has a big book of rides at Royal Randwick on Saturday and it starts with Chris Waller's two-year-old True Detective in the first.

"I think it's going to be tough out there and you're going to need genuine wet trackers," Shinn said.

"True Detective looked like a nice horse winning his only start on debut and he's trialled nicely leading into this race so he looks like a good chance.

"I think Deity (race seven) put the writing on the wall in her return to racing from a spell with a good third and she'll improve with fitness and likes wet ground."

Wu Gok (race six), probably the best wet tracker Shinn will ride on Saturday, ran well for second first-up but that wasn't a surprise because he had trialled so well for Chris Waller.

Blake Shinn has an impressive book of rides at Royal Randwick. Picture: AAP
Blake Shinn has an impressive book of rides at Royal Randwick. Picture: AAP

"He looks well placed and handles wet ground," Shinn said.

"Everything looks set for him to run a super race. Look at his stats on heavy ground and it's exceptional. He's got everything in his favour to suggest he's a top three chance again."

Shinn said Thy Kingdom Come, in the eighth race, had trialled well and he expected him to perform nicely fresh, while Syd's Footprints has the chance to make a name for himself in the race two.

"Leading into races like the Kosciusko it's important for all the horses trying to get into the race to perform well," Shinn said.

"His last win was good when he beat a few horses that have performed in the Highways before like Burning Crown. The only question mark would be the ground and if he handles that, he looks very hard to beat."

Shinn also rides Raqeeq in the fifth race and Velocita in the last, and he's been riding The Enzo leading up to his first run as a gelding in the third race.

He'll meet the hot favourite Sir Elton.

"He's felt good (at trackwork) and I think he'll be running on strongly late," Shinn said.

"He's a bit unknown in the ground and sometimes horses off such a long lay-off take a run to build into their peak fitness.

"He's got good ability and I think he's going well enough to hit the line strongly. It's just whether the others have a fitness edge on the testing track."

News Corp Australia

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