Crack jockey Blake Shinn commits to Invador who’s loving a splash this week
Top jockey Blake Shinn has been secured to ride Lincoln Farms’ smart three-year-old Platinum Invador during his upcoming derby campaign in Sydney.
Shinn was one of three jockeys part-owner Neville McAlister had on his hit list, the others Kerrin McEvoy and Hugh Bowman, and he was delighted when Shinn confirmed the engagement today.
“It turns out Bowman will be in Dubai but Shinn was the first one we approached anyway. His manager said they were considering one other ride but after Blake watched Platinum Invador’s videos (including his third in the New Zealand Derby), he said: ‘That’s the horse I want to ride’.’’
McAlister says you can’t stress too much the importance of having a local jockey who knows the Sydney tracks. Platinum Invador starts his campaign at Rosehill on March 30 and then moves to Randwick for the A$2 million Australian Derby on April 6.
“It makes a big difference when your jockey rides the track every week and knows how they run.’’
McAlister says he’ll be telling Shinn only one thing before he is legged up for the Group II A$200,000 Tulloch Stakes (2000m).
“I’ll say jump him out and get him relaxed off the bridle but that’s all. You don’t get jockeys like Shinn then tell him how to suck eggs.’’
Ideally, Platinum Invador can draw inside seven or eight so he can settle midfield, says McAlister.
“He’s got to cop a good draw some time. If he’s out wider he’ll have no choice but to go right back. If he goes forward on him, he’ll get up on the bridle and pull.
“We just have to rely on him to run a fast last 600 metres.’’
McAlister says it’s too early to know exactly the strength of the opposition Platinum Invador will face - many of his rivals, while big on stake earnings, have yet to tackle middle distances.
“He’s about 15th in the order on stake earnings but it won’t be until after the Rosehill Guineas when many will decide if they can run the derby trip.’’
Shinn is well known to Kiwi racegoers after winning the Sistema Sakes here on Summer Passage in 2017.
He also teamed with Kiwi owned Who Shot Thebarman to win the Sydney Cup in 2018.
Shinn is a whiz at tackling all distances. His Group I wins stretch from the Golden Slipper (1200m) on Capitalist in 2016 to the Melbourne Cup (3200m) on Viewed in 2008.
In more recent times he is best known as the regular rider of Happy Clapper, on whom he has won three Group I races, including the Doncaster last year.
Shinn again partners Happy Clapper on Saturday when he will start one of the favourites in the A$5 million All-Star Mile at Flemington.
Shinn made an emotional comeback to riding in January with a winning ride on Dawn Passage, after five months on the sideline with a serious neck injury.
McAlister says Platinum Invador only has to travel well on March 26, and settle in well, to be in with a real chance in Sydney.
The horse has thrived this week on the water walker at Tony and Chrissie Banbury’s on the outskirts of Palmerston North.
“He loves it. They said he took to it on the first day like an old pro.’’
Platinum Invador is set to rejoin trainer Lisa Latta’s stable next week.
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Sunday at Tauherenikau
Race 1: Lincoln Hanover
“He’s done very well since his first-up run at Awapuni and continues to please me. He has come up with the outside gate which isn’t ideal but he has the speed to get across them. The step-up in distance will help and, while the top two horses look hard to beat, he is capable of taking this out.’’
Race 6: Platinum Rapper
“She has trained on well since her first-up win. Tauherenikau is a track that does not get overly hard, which we are looking for. This race will tidy her up to head south. There are some handy types in it and she is up a rating band but I am happy with her progress and expect another good run.’’
News in brief
AUTUMN PREP: Trainer Lisa Latta may consider an autumn campaign with Lincoln Falls if he comes through his gelding operation well, kicking off with the Group III Cambridge Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) at Te Rapa on April 27. The horse, who did not see out the derby trip last Saturday, went out to the paddock today for a freshen-up before visiting the vet.
RETIRED: Bush Whacked has been retired. Despite showing promise at trials the Sepoy three-year-old showed in three starts for Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh that he simply didn’t want to be a racehorse.
TOUCH FLAT: Rider Robbie Hannam told stewards he thought Platinum Touch was feeling the effects of her debut run and felt flat after beating only two home at Trentham.
LOST DREAMS: Dreams Of Platinum has been sold to Australia. The four-year-old mare won one race and placed seven times in 21 starts, earning nearly $35,000.