The recent departure of jockeys from Hong Kong’s riding ranks is set to open up opportunities for those around them on the table and one man looking to cash in is Blake Shinn.
While the Australian only takes four rides into Saturday’s meeting, he is a strong chance of leaving with a winner thanks to Danny Shum Chap-shing’s Fantasy.
Shinn piloted the four-year-old to a debut win last month and he believes he can salute again in the Class Four Ho Sheung Heung Handicap (1,200m) against a host of unraced horses.
Fantasy was impressive during his first trip to the races under Shinn, where he was able to hold off a challenge from a charging Power King despite other on-speed runners fading away behind him.
“I thought he did a great job. He did everything right leading into that race and he put it together on race day which isn’t easy to do sometimes for a first starter,” Shinn said.
“He is a very professional horse and I thought he did a good job, he showed tremendous courage late to fight off Power King so it was a good debut and hopefully he can put it together again.”
With four weeks between runs, Shum elected to send Fantasy to the trials last week to blow out any cobwebs and the 1,327-pound brute looked to have improved, racing away from his well-performed stablemate Simply The Best in good time.
“I think he has improved, he has had some time between runs, he had a trial at Sha Tin. I thought the trial was particularly good and naturally horses come on from their first start, he has done that,” Shinn said.
“He has improved in fitness, he is quite a gross type of a horse. He needs a bit of work so I asked him to do a bit in the trial without bottoming out and he did everything I wanted him to so I think he is going to prove hard to beat on the weekend.”
Shinn will also ride John Moore’s Above as he looks to win three races on the trot.
The four-year-old drops in distance in the Class Four Kwu Tung Handicap (1,800m) after doing his best work over 2,000m and 2,200m so far this season.
He will also ride Take What You Need for Moore and John Size’s Red Warrior in the Class Two Beas River Handicap (2,000m).
The four-year-old is having his first race over 2,000m since last season’s Hong Kong Derby, where he finished a respectable seventh.