Christmas will come a few days early for Blake Shinn this year as he prepares to resume his riding career this Wednesday at Sandown.
The jockey is on the comeback trail after a lengthy stint on the sidelines following suspension last year.
He’s spent more than a year out of the game after an investigation revealed his involvement in betting alongside fellow rider Peter Robl.
He was found to have placed around 2000 bets over a two year period and admitted to having a gambling problem.
Now though he’s completely focussed on his return and is happy to declare his gambling demons are dead.
“I’ve learned to deal with my addiction, I’m over it,” Shinn said.
He will start off slowly over the next couple of weeks after getting his feel back riding trackwork at Kilmore with his stepdad Lee Hope.
“I’m very excited to get back,” he said.
“I wanted a low-key comeback, start back slow with the family and build up gradually for a few weeks, just get my eye in before I go back to Sydney.”
Shinn will be based in Sydney for 2012 and will be starting a fresh under new manager Tony Cristafi,
He said he’s received a huge amount of support over the last 12 months and part of his drive to succeed stems from his desire to help repay those people.
“The 12 months away has been the hardest time I’ve had to deal with, but through great support of my family, close friends and really the whole racing industry, I’ve got through it. I feel I’m a much better person, I feel I have grown up a lot. I’m a much happier person.”
It wasn’t just mental scars that Shinn had to overcome either, he broke his leg on Melbourne Cup Day last year and in his rush to return made things worse.
“I over-trained…that’s why my comeback has been stalled for a month,” he said.
“Things are great, everything is very positive. I’m going to work as hard as I can.”