Shinn rides a winner on first day back
An emotional Blake Shinn made a dream start to his riding comeback for himself and his family when Tellora romped away with a seven length win at Sandown.
The 2008 Melbourne Cup winning rider was disqualified in November last year along with fellow jockey and good friend Peter Robl for betting which is against the rules of racing.
During the time he was sidelined, Shinn underwent counselling for his gambling problem and also recuperated from a broken leg sustained in a fall on Melbourne Cup day 2010.
Relaxed and calm before and after his first ride on Wednesday aboard third placed Distillery, Shinn couldn’t hold back the tears after Tellora won.
“It’s hard to contain the emotion, especially with my family, but we’ve worked hard,” Shinn said.
The mare is part-owned by his mother Carol Shinn and prepared by his stepfather Lee Hope and stepbrother Shannon Hope.
The 24-year-old jockey was supported at the track for his two rides by his mother and other family and friends.
The former champion Victorian apprentice and Scobie Breasley Medal winner showed he hadn’t lost any of his class in the saddle.
“You’ve got to learn from your mistakes,” Shinn said.
“It was terrible what happened but with the support of so many people behind me including my best mate Pete (Robl)…
“That’s why we came down here (from Sydney) for a low key start and I’m just rapt because my step dad works so hard to guide me in the right direction.
“We hit a bit of a hurdle but we’re back bigger than ever and I’m just rapt.
“It was my mum’s horse and it couldn’t have been a better result.”
He looked as if he might win on Distillery earlier in the day but was happy just to be back in the saddle.
“Just to be around the mark was a great thrill. It was nearly a fairy tale,” Shinn said.
“I came here pretty calm, I prepared really well and did the form.
“I was fit enough, I’ve done the hard yards.
“Riding is what we live for, we work hard and strive for it so I was very excited. It’s just great to be back doing what I love.
“I’m eating less and just keeping busy. Before I was just sitting on the couch and I was getting bored a lot and that’s what got me into my problem of gambling.
“Now I’m just keeping active, doing more things, keeping busy, not eating as much and that’s helped me with my weight and I’m happier now.”
Shinn will return to his old base in Sydney after he rides Hollowlea in the Group Three Standish Hcp (1200m) at Flemington on January 2.
“I’ve got some great trainers behind me who have supported me right throughout the last 12 months and I’m looking forward to getting back, working hard and repaying the loyalty they have shown me,” he said.”
Robl has also made a successful return to the saddle in Sydney.