THERE are few active jockeys on the Australian thoroughbred scene that boast the racing passport stamps that Blake Shinn has, but the 30-year-old hoop still believes that the Melbourne Cup carnival is still the pinnacle of the sport.
Riding group one winners in Sydney and Melbourne, as well as piloting horses in Hong Kong, New Zealand, Japan, England and most recently the United States, Shinn is as well-travelled as any rider in the history of racing.
Despite taking part in The Championships and other huge carnivals around the world, Shinn still believes Melbourne’s spring is “the pinnacle” of racing.
“The spring carnival is right up there with the best carnivals in the world,” Shinn told HorseBetting.com.au in the jockey room on Stakes Day.
“I would say it’s probably the best, definitely.”
Most jockeys would be content just to take part in Australia’s premier racing carnival, but the 30-year-old has made it his business to lift a gear when the spring rolls around.
Shinn has tasted the ultimate success in Melbourne, winning the Cup aboard the Bart Cummings-trained Viewed back in 2008, and the Kilmore native found it hard to articulate exactly what the $6.2 million feature triumph means to him.
“It’s the absolute pinnacle,” he said.
“It’s probably the best win of my career. It’s one of the greatest races in the world.
“It’s really hard to describe, it’s one of the races that every jockey in the world wants to win, so it was pretty special.”
Shinn has had a good carnival on a personal level, having registered a win, three placings and a further three top-five finishes heading into Emirates Stakes day.
With plenty of chances to add to that tally on Saturday, Shinn said he is happy with his 2017 carnival to date.
“I’ve had a very good carnival,”
“It’s great to be a part of it, just having a bit of success tops it off.”
Adding another group one crown to his incredible record of 16 is the goal for the hoop however, who pilots Clearly Innocent in the Darley Classic.
Shinn is adamant that Clearly Innocent – which is a $23 outsider at Crownbet for the Darley Classic – is better than what it displayed after an eighth placed finish in The Everest back on October 14.
“I think he comes into the race as a winning chance,” Shinn said.
“He’s coming into this on the back of a freshen up and his run in The Everest didn’t really pan out in a way that suits but on his best form he’ll run really well.”