Blake Shinn is straight back on the horse after his American odyssey as Tinker Dan seeks a long-awaited maiden victory at the Warwick Farm midweek meeting.
Shinn returned to Sydney on Monday after riding 11 winners at Chicago’s Arlington Park and has a book of six rides at Warwick Farm.
Tinker Dan opens Shinn’s schedule on Wednesday with the John Steinmetz-trained three-year-old attempting to score in the last start of his first preparation.
Had a foot injury not put him out to pasture for several months, Tinker Dan might already have emulated the winning deeds of Branko Mick and Hillary Step – the other horses Steinmetz acquired out of the mare Deal Or No Deal as a block purchase.
A $7000 pick up, Tinker Dan finally made his debut in May after recovering from a bone cyst on a foot.
Tinker Dan is four races into his career and has never run worse than fifth. He steps up to 1400 metres for the first time.
“He’s come from being a horse that we had no idea whether he was any good or not through to being reasonably competitive in strong maidens,” Steinmetz said.
Steinmetz, who has six horses in work at Warwick Farm, was surprised, and relieved, to have secured Shinn’s services.
“Blake rode him at Hawkesbury (second-up) but I don’t usually expect to get the top line riders. They’re usually taken by the bigger stables,” he said.
Tinker Dan, a $9.50 chance with the TAB, has raced between 1000m and 1150m so far but Steinmetz is unfazed about the step up in distance.
“Those 1400s at Warwick Farm can be funny. Sometimes there’s no pace and they just sort of canter for the first three furlongs before the sprint home,” he said.
“I’d like him to be up front cruising.”
While Shinn’s return will be a focal point, Hugh Bowman and Brenton Avdulla will be the riders to watch as they go to the wire in the Sydney jockeys’ premiership race.
Bowman, who leads by half a win with four meetings remaining has five rides for Chris Waller.
Avdulla returns from suspension with four rides on horses trained by Waller, Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, Kris Lees and Godolphin’s James Cummings.