Melbourne Cup winning jockey Blake Shinn has high Autumn Carnival hopes for First Seal who kicks off a new campaign in the Group 2 $175,000 Liberty International Underwriters Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Shinn’s rocky career was at one of its high points when he rode Viewed to win legendary trainer Bart Cummings’ twelfth Melbourne Cup in 2008 and the inform jockey has rated First Seal among one the best horses he has ridden.
Shinn is currently running third on the Sydney jockey’s premiership with fifty-two and half wins behind Hugh Bowman on fifty-five and James McDonald on fifty-three and a half and hopes the winners keep flowing starting with First Seal this weekend.
“She’s one of the best horses I’ve ever ridden,” Shinn told AAP.
“She’s got a great turn of foot, she’s strong, she’s got a great presence about her.”
“Hopefully this autumn will set myself up for the rest of my career.”
Trainer John Thompson also has high hopes for the First Seal and has mapped out a Group 1 Autumn Carnival program including the $600,000 Coolmore Classic (1500m) and the $400,000 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) both at Rosehill and the $3m The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on April 4.
First Seal stamped her class during the 2014 Sydney Spring Carnival with a win in the Group 1 $400,000 Coolmore Flight Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on October 4 and then narrowly missed out on a Group 1 winning double when second to Hampton Court in the $400,000 Moet & Chandon Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick seven days later.
The market order for the Light Fingers Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au has First Seal the ruling $3 favourite ahead of 2014 Golden Slipper winner Mossfun at $4 and the Chris Waller trained Winx at $6.
Next in the betting is Memorial at $8, Onemorezeta at $8.50 and Waller’s Thousand Guineas winner Amicus who is sharing the $15 mark with Sires’ Produce Stakes winner Peggy Jean.