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Blake Shinn hopes to build on Sha Tin double with further success at the Valley

May 26, 2021 at 7:33:40 AM

Blake Shinn is hoping Harmony N Blessed (124lb) can rediscover his winning form in the Class 3 Java Handicap (1000m) at Happy Valley tomorrow evening (Wednesday, 26 May), as the Melbourne Cup-winning jockey seeks further Hong Kong success.

Since roaring onto the scene with a pair of rousing victories in his first two races, the lightly raced four-year-old has since been ineffective in four subsequent runs, but Shinn is confident in his abilities to not only bounce back, but also continue his progress up the handicap.

“His form has been reasonably consistent, but when he has progressed in class, as he has to do it from both ends – it's difficult for him, particularly as he has to absorb so much pressure.

“But I think he's going to work his way up the polls, very high in the ratings, so we haven't hit the bottom of this horse, and maybe tomorrow night he will reveal his true form,” Shinn said.

The David Hayes-trained speedster, who is rated 69, began his career six starts ago with consecutive victories, first by two lengths on debut at Sha Tin before scoring resoundingly at the city circuit last December.

The David Hayes-trained speedster, who is rated 69, began his career six starts ago with consecutive victories, first by two lengths on debut at Sha Tin before scoring resoundingly at the city circuit last December.

“He's a natural running horse – that's his strongest quality – and he's a strong horse, so I guess we'll just shoot him out to see what happens; he doesn't have to lead, but I'd love it if he would find the rail because he corners very well,” Shinn said.

The HK$2.24 million earner will have to clear barrier 11 against ten rivals tomorrow evening, including Larson (130lb), Dancing Fighter (129lb), Heart Conquered (124lb), Cantstopthefeeling (119lb), and Simply Fluke (119lb).

“I believe he has a decent chance; his last run at Happy Valley over 1200 metres was very solid; he set a strong pace in front where he went fairly quickly, but that is his normal pattern.”

“He was just overhauled by a pair of classy horses, but he's up to 1000 metres this time with the help of that sprint and a little bit of a layoff – I hope that should accommodate him down to the ground,” said the Australian.

Shinn won his first double in Hong Kong on Sunday (23 May) at Sha Tin, atop Donc Je Suis and Hall Of Champ, bringing his season count to 21.

“It was very rewarding, it's been a difficult journey to where we got to on the weekend, but I've toughed it out and to ride winners for David Hayes and Caspar Fownes, both of those guys have stayed very strong by me in Hong Kong so it was nice to win for them and let's hope it can keep going from here,” he said.

Shinn joined Hong Kong's riding ranks at the start of the 2019/20 racing season and has since won 36 races, including the HK$12 million Hong Kong Classic Mile, the first leg of the Four-Year-Old Classic Series, aboard Excellent Proposal.

“It's beginning to pick up a little bit – I feel like I'm learning more and more about racing and soaking up the little intricacies of Hong Kong, and I think the results are starting to reflect that, so let's just keep pressing ahead,” Shinn said.

Majestic Hero, who beat Harmony N Blessed last time out, will run in the Class 3 Marble Handicap (1200m) under three-time champion Joao Moreira.

Stepping out of gate four against 11 opponents, the son of I Am Invincible will search for back-to-back victories following his length and a half victory over the course and distance earlier this month.

“He had the perfect run – he had the best gate on the day, a straightforward run in the straight, all was perfect for him and he certainly wants the same to go his way again, if he gets a smooth run then no doubt he's a strong enough horse to win again,” Moreira said.

Prior to being exported from Australia, the gelding was trained by Anthony and Sam Freedman and was a two-time winner from four races.

“Having only had three starts (in Hong Kong), that means to me that the more often we go to the races, the further he's going to improve – I'm very sure that he'll improve more and win more races in Hong Kong,” Moreira said.

Moreira takes a full book of rides at Happy Valley's midweek fixture after completing a treble on Sunday at Sha Tin, including victories in the G3 Sha Tin Vase Handicap (1200m) aboard the spectacular Courier Wonder.

Wednesday's (May 26) nine-race card at Happy Valley gets underway at 6.45 p.m. with the first leg of the Class 5 Whitfield Handicap (1200m).

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