Somebody forgot to tell Blake Shinn that revenge is supposedly best served cold.
Just days after losing his prized ride on First Seal to James McDonald, Shinn climbed aboard Fenway – trained by his stepfather Lee Hope and stepbrother Shannon – and guided the filly to a tough victory in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes at Rosehill.
Shinn worked his way to the front at the top of the straight before holding off none other than a fast finishing First Seal, with McDonald aboard driving strongly.
The switch in jockey didn’t faze punters, who kept coming for First Seal all the way to the sharp $1.80 starting price. McDonald put in a solid effort, finding a comfortable midfield ride for much of the race, but Shinn put the foot down on Fenway and opened up a break that couldn’t be breached.
The $21 winner came as a surprise to many, though certainly not to the Hopes.
“We just kept telling him (Blake) how good our horse was,” said Shinn’s mother Carol. “We said, ‘you’ve just got to trust us, we know how good this horse is’.”
McDonald quickly put the defeat behind him however, getting his taste of Group 1 spoils in the next race, the $1.5 million BMW, aboard John O’Shea’s gelding Hartnell.
The event was billed as a match race between Hartnell and Japanese champion To The World, and that’s exactly how it played out, with the two meeting in the middle of track at the 400 metre mark and going head to head down the straight. Hartnell had the bigger motor and slowly wore down his rival before breaking away for the win.
Looking south, Glen Boss and Darren Weir also found Group 1 success with Lucky Hussler in the William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
Boss turned wide into the short Valley straight before letting go of Lucky Hussler, who exploded past the high quality field to salute comfortably.
Boss gets much of the credit for the win, with connections initially keen to attack the TJ Smith Stakes first up in Sydney next weekend.
“I said there’s $240,000 here for someone to take and I reckon he’s the right horse, so I’m just glad he got the right run and the right result,” said Boss.
“I thought he was way over the odds because he’s a pretty dynamic sprinter.”
by Mark Haywood