Blake Shinn’s stunning four-timer at Sha Tin on Sunday has put his rivals very much on notice that, after two years of perseverance as a bit player, he is now set to reap the benefits he has worked so hard for in the coming season.
The certainty of securing a full season licence for the first time (for the 2021/22 Hong Kong racing season) and the support of fellow Australian, trainer David Hayes, has provided a huge boost to Shinn’s prospects moving forward.
Shinn took up the Hong Kong challenge in 2019 leaving behind the safe boundaries of Australia, where he was a well-established, top tier ride, to test himself on the international stage.
Building contacts, turning those contacts into working relationships and then taking those working relationships to the desired level of success was never going to be an overnight success story when entering a foreign environment, and Shinn knew he would again have to show the type of determination and professional focus that helped him to a full recovery from a fractured neck he suffered back in 2018.
A total of only thirty-nine winners over his two previous seasons in Hong Kong, when always only riding on a six month license, could so easily have dented Shinn’s enthusiasm for the task he had set himself, but, as easy as it might have been to return home to potentially lucrative race rides, Shinn was never going to admit defeat.
And now Shinn has clear reason to celebrate his resilience.
“I’ve been here for almost two seasons now and having six months contracts at each time creates that bit of uncertainty, so to get that certainty to have a full season, I’m excited,” said Shinn.
“It’s been a while coming, to have a big day like this in Hong Kong has been a couple of years in the making and let’s hope this is the start of something really good this season. It’s been a lot of hard work and it’s happened today and I’m very grateful.”
“With David Hayes coming in last season and now having his support behind me … David Hayes has been a legend of world racing and he has been great for my career since he’s come back to Hong Kong. He was my biggest supporter last season, and it looks to be that way again this season.
“I’m just delighted, but I’m not going to get carried away in the moment, we’ve still got a job to do to try to build off this and kick on from here.
“It’s nice to repay everyone’s faith in me by having a big day.”