Blake Shinn doesn’t quite know how to feel about the opening to his Hong Kong racing career, with the star Australian doing everything but win in a start that has been good but could have been so much better.
The 31-year-old has ridden five seconds without a winner across the first two meets, proving he has settled in well to his new home, but he knows it counts for little when all is said and done.
“The game’s all about winning and I haven’t won yet, so I’m a little bit upset,” he said. “But we’re only two meetings down, I’ve received wonderful support and to have five seconds and a couple of other placings, I’d say on the whole it’s been a great start without winning.
“I’m trying to do everything I can and I feel like I’m riding well under the circumstances. I’m trying to adapt to a different environment, a different track, different horses and different jockeys – it’s all a learning experience.
“I’ll just continue to keep doing what I’m doing, I’m not trying to reinvent anything. I’ll just keep turning up every day and working hard, that’s what got me this opportunity so I won’t change anything.”
Compounding Shinn’s testing start is the three-meeting ban he copped at Sha Tin on Sunday, meaning it would be a long wait if he doesn’t produce a victory on Wednesday.
But while he admits a winner before his ban starts would ease the pressure, he’s remaining focused on the bigger picture.
“It’ll put my mind at ease a bit, but at the end of the day you get that first winner out of the way and you just want the next one and then the next one,” he said.
“I’m looking to ride as many winners as I can, so to get the first winner will be good but then I’m looking for the next one straight away.”
Shinn heads to Happy Valley for the first time on Wednesday night and has six rides, at least a couple of which have the potential to make the bad luck of recent times seem like a distant memory.
He’s excited about his first ride for gun local trainer Frankie Lor Fu-chuen, who has engaged him to partner Frustrated in the Class Three Chung Hom Kok Handicap (1,200m).
Frustrated did his best work over the Valley 1,000m last season, winning twice from seven attempts, but finished the season with a third at 1,200m and should have come on further over the off-season.
“It’s nice to have my first ride for Frankie,” Shinn said. “He’s a very consistent horse, he’s an on-pace type – which seems to be the style for Happy Valley – and he’s won there before. He trialled well and looks a competitive ride.”
Shinn will also ride the Me Tsui Yu-sak-trained Exponents for the second time in four days, with the six-year-old backing up in the Class Five South Bay Handicap (1,000m) after finishing second on the all-weather track at Sha Tin on Sunday.
“[Backing him up] was part of Me’s plan if he didn’t win,” Shinn said. “He put in a great run on Sunday and he goes well at Happy Valley. He’s in another winnable race and he should run well again. He’s a consistent horse.”