Blake Shinn bristled with delight at Sha Tin on Sunday after Hayes-trained Super Wealthy stormed late to annex the day’s feature, the Class 2 Choi Hung Handicap (1000m) as part of his winning four-timer.
“It’s a red-letter day for myself, it’s huge. I’m just stoked – a bit overwhelmed. I’ve been waiting a long time for something like this to happen,” the Melbourne Cup-winning jockey said.
“With David Hayes coming in last season and now having his support behind me, it’s been instrumental for me. To get four winners, I’m just rapt.
“It’s nice to repay everyone’s faith in me by having a big day.
“I’ve had some big days back in Australia, but this is the world stage where you want to ride winners against the elite jockeys.
“That horse, I just love him. He’s just a beautiful horse and I was hoping he would do something like that today.”
Blake Shinn, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club
Shinn first benefited from Hayes’ flying start to the term with first-starter Lord Thunder landing the first section of the Class 4 Lam Tim Handicap (1200m, dirt).
“He did a few little things wrong, he was a little bit tardy away – but then he mustered speed beautifully and settled well in the box seat. He presented like he was going to win by three lengths but just floated a little bit,” Shinn said.
“There’s plenty of upside. He’s a lovely horse. He was well presented today and it’s nice to be given the opportunity to ride these exciting young horses.”
Prior to sealing his four-timer, Shinn, 33, posted his third win in as many rides when Golden Four surged late to claim the Class 5 San Po Kong Handicap (1400m) for Michael Chang.
“First ever treble in Hong Kong – it’s very meaningful, you know,” he said, never daring to expect the day to get even better.
“You’ve got to pinch yourself. You’re always hoping for a day like this to come but you never expect it to happen. It’s fantastic.
“I’m just building off last season (24 wins) and it’s all about opportunities. Coming to the races with nine rides instead of three or four is enhancing my chances and the horses I’m riding have got chances. Today the cards appear to be falling my way.
“I’ve won on this horse before and Michael is a great guy. I’m delighted to win on this horse again for him,” Shinn said.
Shinn opened his seasonal account when Dennis Yip-trained Light My Day led virtually all the way to land the Class 5 Sau Mau Ping Handicap (1600m).
“The horse did a great job, got into his own rhythm from start to finish and well done to Dennis – he had the horse ready and he delivered,” Shinn said.
Yip celebrated a double when Alfred Chan guided Flying Bonus to victory in the Class 3 Kowloon Bay Handicap (1200m, dirt). Chan later piloted Caspar Fownes-trained Land Power to victory in the first section of the Ngau Tau Kok Handicap (1400m).
“Flying Bonus and Land Power, I didn't really expect they would win today but I did expect them to run well - the wins are a bonus,” Chan said, drawing praise from Fownes.
“It’s nice to see Alfie ride a double,” Fownes said. “Great to see him and Blake (Shinn) do well – guys that are normally struggling to get decent rides, ride six (winners) between them.”
Michael Chang and Joao Moreira combined with Steel Win to capture the second section of the Class 4 Lam Tim Handicap (1200m, dirt) after the Press Statement gelding showed customary tenacity to repel the fast-closing The Best Hero by a short head.
“It’s a nice double, it’s been nearly two years. My luck has changed - luck is on my side today,” Chang said.
Chad Schofield posted his first winner of the season with a flawless display on Jimmy Ting’s Gluck Racer in the Class 3 Diamond Hill Handicap (1200m).
Hong Kong racing continues at Happy Valley on Wednesday.