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Comeback hoop Blake Shinn has secured the prized mount on current 2012 Blue Diamond Stakes favourite Jimando in next month’s million dollar showdown at Caulfield.
Running on February 25 as one of the early Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival majors, the $1 million Group 1 Patinack Farm Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) currently has 165 juvenile entries.
This number will be cut on Tuesday January 31 when Blue Diamond Stakes 2012 third declarations are taken and released.
Current Blue Diamond Stakes odds at Luxbet are led narrowly led by Adelaide raider Jimando at $5.
The Tony McEvoy-trained Commands colt just sits ahead of Gai Waterhouse’s promising More Than Ready gelding Raceway, a four length winner at Warwick Farm on debut at the start of the month, who pays $5.50 in the Blue Diamond Stakes betting markets at Luxbet.
Jimando, purchased for $50,000 at last year’s Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sales, has had just the one career start to date when Nash Rawiller rode them to an eye-catching three and a half length win over Robbie Griffith’s Princeton Miss in the Listed Inglis Debutants Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield back on October 12.
With Rawiller engaged to ride Waterhouse’s class filly No Looking Back in the Blue Diamond Stakes field, a jockey for Jimando has been up in the air.
McEvoy has this week named Shinn for the big ride.
All going well and Shinn will also get his chance on Jimando in lucrative $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on April 7 during the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
“This colt will go straight to Sydney after the Blue Diamond for the Golden Slipper and I think it’s vitally important to have the right rider for both places and Blake fits the bill perfectly,” McEvoy said.
The Blue Diamond Stakes ride comes at the right time for Shinn who only recently resumed racing following a lengthy suspension for his involvement in gambling on the races, and McEvoy has full confidence that he has made the right decision.
“Blake’s an outstanding jockey, as we all know, he seems very focused at the moment as he’s making his way back from his troubles,” McEvoy said.
“You need a jockey with these young horses that can anticipate and predict what is happening around them and look, he’s just riding in such hot form that he nearly picks himself.”
Just last Saturday Shinn had seven rides at Canterbury and won two with Fontelina in the third and Tigress Lily in the seventh.
McEvoy also referred to Shinn’s successful association with Waterhouse’s former gun two-year-old Sebring who racked up over $2.5 million in prize money in their short six-race career that included back-to-back Group 1 wins in the Golden Slipper and AJC Sires produce Stakes in the autumn of 2008.
Shinn rode Sebring for five of their six starts, missing only the instrumental Golden Slipper victory when Glen Boss was in the saddle.
“You must remember also that Blake was really instrumental in developing Sebring as a juvenile,” McEvoy said.
“I think he rode him in all his races other than the Slipper and I’m hoping he can help bring my colt along through his campaign as well.”
Jimando will make their first race appearance of the year this Saturday at Caulfield in the $100,000 Listed Chairman’s Stakes (1100m) and McEvoy said a lot of riding on their first-up performance.
“This run this Saturday is just as important as he’s an unbeaten colt who’s got a wonderful pedigree and he has the chance to really stamp himself a genuine contender for the big two-year-old races,” he said.
The horse has reportedly come through their break in great order and McEvoy said the major reason for not going first-up into the Blue Diamond was Jimando’s hulking frame.
“He’s done so well after his break, and he’s huge for a two-year-old at about 540 kilograms, and so I was a bit nervous that I might not quite have him fit enough on Diamond Day,” he said.
“So we’ll run on Saturday and he can go to the Diamond from there.
“I’m delighted with the way he’s come back.
“He’s been working beautifully and he’s in the right frame of mind.
“He had a jumpout here at home and he flew the gates and sat right on the bunny and did it with style.”
McEvoy also said they would follow the same, hopefully winning formula, set by Peter Snowden’s superstar colt Sepoy who won the Blue Diamond Stakes – Golden Slipper double last season by taking Jimando to the $300,000 Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on March 24 in between to two Group 1 clashes.
“After the Blue Diamond, we’ll be taking him for the (Golden) Slipper and we’ll be treading a similar path to Sepoy, who went three weeks from the Diamond to the Todman and then two weeks to the Slipper,” McEvoy said.
“There’s still time for some good ones to come out, but I’m very comfortable having this colt.”
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