Champion jockey Blake Shinn scores a huge emotional victory in Hong Kong.
Blake Shinn continued his brilliant run of success in Hong Kong with a hat-trick at Sha Tin on Sunday night, including a Group 1 win on a day of personal and emotional significance for the champion jockey.
Shinn rode his 36th winner of the season as Russian Emperor walked away with the Group 1 and Chater Cup (2400m) Champions.
Russian Emperor’s victory came on the eighth anniversary of the passing of Guy Walter, the legendary trainer from Sydney who had such a profound influence on Shinn’s career and life.
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Shinn had won the 2014 Doomben Cup with Walter’s mare Streama just five days before the trainer’s tragic passing. Walter was only 59 years old.
Walter was a father figure and mentor to Shinn. The trainer and jockey had a very successful partnership on the track and were close friends.
Shinn rode his third Group 1 winner of the Hong Kong season in Russian Emperor, the excellent four-year-old bred by super sire Galileo from the ill-fated former Australian champion Atlantic Jewel.
“The big races in Hong Kong are so prestigious and recognized around the world, so racing is one thing; winning them is another,” Shinn told the Hong Kong media after the race.
“We are on the world stage now and to win such a prestigious race, I feel like I am on top of the world right now.
“Winning two Group 1s over him (Emperor of Russia) now and winning the last Group 1 in Hong Kong (of the season) is quite a stir, I assure you.”
Despite his highly successful season, Shinn has announced that he will return to Australian racing at the end of the Hong Kong season with plans to set up shop in Melbourne during the spring carnival.
“It was a difficult decision to come home,” Shinn said.
“The last year has been an extremely difficult time, especially for me.
“It was almost a breaking point. I made the decision because I was struggling mentally.
“Hong Kong has been a great place for me, but for a few months it was really difficult, not only for me, but for a lot of people in Hong Kong. It’s hard to walk away because I’ve worked so hard, but mental health is very important.
“Things have calmed down now, but first and foremost I have to make sure my well-being is where I need it to be and hopefully in time I can get back to where I need it to be and you can see me back in Hong Kong. in the future.”
Originally published as Blake Shinn wins the Hong Kong Major in honor of Guy Walter’s memory