By Brad Gray
At Royal Randwick
To everybody but Blake Shinn the final stages of his first ride back aboard Dawn Passage looked like blissfully isolation. However, an emotional Shinn doesn’t believe he was riding alone.
It was Shinn’s first race ride since breaking his neck in a barrier trial fall in August last year.
“I don’t know what to say, words can’t describe it,” said Shinn.
“Part of me wants to cry to be honest.
“I do believe in fate and I honestly think that someone was riding with me today, because it was very special. It has been a long road and a lot of people have helped me get here, I know I’ve put in the work but I’ve had a lot of support.”
The first starter from the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott trialled impressively but the question mark, being by Dawn Approach, was whether he’d be sharp enough for 1000m.
The pace was hot in the early stages with Punters Intelligence revealing Dawn Passage’s stablemate Espaaniyah scorched along in 22.83s for her first 400m. Her 800-600m split was a sizzling 9.96s so it’s no surprise she dropped out to run eighth.
What Punters Intelligence also details is the dominance of Dawn Passage's last 600m split of 33.02s. The next best was Zouriana's 33.72s, which is more than four lengths inferior to Dawn Passage.
“When he began well and I was able to get on the back of Christian (Bivouac),” explained Shinn, “Initially I was on the back of Aussie but he wasn’t holding that spot early so I allowed him to find his feet. I was always going well and riding him to hit the line, I got into the clear at the 300m and knew I had the horse to finish.
“Everything worked out and didn’t he put that race to bed the final 100m.”
Dawn Passage has booked his spot in the rich Inglis Millennium (1200m) feature in a fortnight at Warwick Farm, but the targets don’t stop there for Waterhouse.
“What an exciting colt,” she gushed, “He is a lovely horse and we said to Blake to just relax because we knew there would be a lot of speed up front and the world is his oyster.”
Dawn Passage's dominant debut
“The Slipper is not that far away and there is a $2 million Inglis race in only two weeks’ time.
“He had come off two very nice trials, there is a lovely group of owners, a few first time owners, it’s a dream come true and could only happen in Australia. That’s what I say, what a wonderful country we’ve got and here we are on Australia Day and we’ve won the first.”