Leading Sydney hoop Blake Shinn is set to make the trip to New Zealand to ride Caorunn in the Karaka Million at Ellerslie next weekend.
Caorunn stamped himself as a horse to watch when he recorded a dominant six lengths victory in a barrier trial over 630 metres at Te Teko on August 4 last year and he made his racing debut with a close second behind Tennessee in the Ford Ranger Handicap (880m) at Ruakaka on September 12 before he claimed a maiden race win in the El Cheapo Cars Handicap (800m) at Otaki on September 24.
Trainer Trent Busuttin sent Caorunn to the spelling paddock following his maiden race win and he returned to the races with another very comfortable victory in the Brokerweb Risk Services Handicap (1100m) at Awapuni on December 19.
Busuttin elected not to give Caorunn another race start in the lead-up to the Karaka Million, but he is still very happy with the two-year-old ahead of the $1 million race and he told The New Zealand Racing Desk that he was thrilled to be able to book a jockey with the quality of Shinn.
“I don’t think there’s anyone riding better in Australia at the moment than Blake,” Busuttin said.
“I get on well with his manager, who also manages Hugh Bowman, and both those guys were at the top of our list.”
“We were 50-50 whether to send him to the trials or race him on Saturday and in the end we felt the trial fitted better.
“He won his trial comfortably, as he should – he was a two-win two-year-old trialling against maidens, but his time was good and he did it easily.
“He’ll gallop at Ellerslie next Wednesday to have a look at the track.
“They always say you need at least one race at Ellerslie first, but you look at the record of the Australian horses who are coming over and winning the race just about every second year and they haven’t raced at Ellerslie before.
“Our fella is pretty professional.”
Shinn has picked up a strong book of rides at the Karaka Million meeting and he is also set to ride Tavaga in the Karaka Three-Year-Old Mile (1600m), as well as last start winners Predator and Pentagon Achiever.
Shinn has stamped himself as one of the best jockeys in Australia in recent years, but he does not have a great deal of experience riding overseas outside of brief periods in Japan, Singapore and England.