Trainer Gai Waterhouse has confirmed that Blake Shinn will ride Melbourne Cup favourite Fiorente in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley next Saturday.
Damien Oliver was booked to ride the imported stayer in the Cox Plate but was suspended for careless riding on Wednesday while Fiorente’s original jockey Nash Rawiller, who was replaced after finishing fourth on the entire in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m), was rubbed out for the same offense at Warwick Farm.
The hotly contested ride was expected to go to Waterhouse stable jockey Tommy Berry but Shinn managed to pick up the plumb assignment with persuasive text messages to Waterhouse and her stable foreman Mark Newnham.
“I texted her this afternoon and just basically put down a few points as to why I thought I’d be good for the horse,” Shinn told TVN.
“Obviously it worked, she sent me one back saying I was on.
“Gai is a business women and she has got to make the right call, got to be professional in her approach and I wanted to make sure I had put my case forward in the best possible manner.”
Shinn was ruled out of racing from November 2010 to the start of 2012 after being caught placing bets on thoroughbred racing but has worked hard in the last eighteen months to rebuild his reputation and has been in good form during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival.
The Melbourne Cup winning jockey believes that picking up such a high-profile ride was just reward for his determination to return to his best form and is hoping that he can repay the faith that Waterhouse has shown in him since he returned from suspension.
“I started back with Gai about a week before Streama won the Oaks,” Shinn said.
“It has taken a long time, my form has turned around, I’ve turned my life around and everything is going forward.
“This decision is very rewarding for myself and it is why we put in the hard yards.”
Shinn has never previously ridden Fiorente but he believes that the son of Monsun has all the attributes required to win the Cox Plate.
“He looks to be the right horse to win a Cox Plate, he has won around Moonee Valley, he is proven at weight-for-age and has an explosive turn of foot,” Shinn said.
“He is a very impressive horse and his runs are there to be seen.”
Shinn will be riding in the Cox Plate for the third time in his career after previously partnering Raheeb (12th in 2008) and Magic Cape (13th in 2007).