Blake Shinn Believes Galaxy Patch Can Overcome Wide Gate in BMW Hong Kong Derby

March 22, 2024

Blake Shinn is chasing his first BMW Hong Kong Derby victory (Alex Evers/HKJC)

By Leo Schlink – HKJC

Blake Shinn concedes drawing barrier 14 in the HK$26 million BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) with Galaxy Patch is “not ideal” but the Australian believes Pierre Ng’s charge has the temperament and class to overcome the challenge.

“It’s not ideal and it’s another challenge that we have to face with this horse but I still believe that, when I study the draw and look at the opposition, a lot of the other main chances are also drawn wide,” Shinn said.

“So, if I weigh it up against the rest of the opposition, most of the top chances also face a tough task from their barriers. I think this horse (Galaxy Patch) has got the class to overcome the barrier if he relaxes and gives himself every chance to run the distance out.”

Revered for his soft hands and relaxed demeanour, Shinn was specifically chosen by Ng in the hope of enhancing Galaxy Patch’s hopes of staying 2000m, having never raced beyond 1400m – with all four of the Wandjina gelding’s Hong Kong wins coming over Sha Tin’s 1200m course.

Having finished second on 289/1 chance Playa Del Puente in the 2020 BMW Hong Kong Derby, beaten only a neck by Golden Sixty, Shinn is eager to experience the ultimate Classic sensation by triumphing on Galaxy Patch.

“My job is to try and get him to relax for the first part of the race and I would say that arguably he’s got the best turn of foot in the race,” Shinn said.

“Now, if I can get him to turn off and display that turn of foot he’s got, he can give himself every chance to win the race – but we’re not going to know that until the barriers open and how he performs in the first part of the race.”

Shinn flew to Hong Kong to ride Galaxy Patch in a familiarisation gallop on Monday (18 March) and was encouraged by the gelding’s manners.

“Coming over and riding him in trackwork the other day, I found he’s not an aggressive horse. He’s a little bit keen and wants to please you a bit too much, but he doesn’t want to fight you and rip and tear,” Shinn said.

“If it’s a slowly-run race, I think he’ll want to work with me and relax well enough – I’m hopeful and confident of that.”

Shinn anticipates a sedately-run race once the field settles until the 800m where the tempo is likely to build.

Second behind California Spangle in the G1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) on 10 March, Galaxy Patch will attempt to emulate Voyage Bubble’s 2023 heroics from barrier 14 under Alexis Badel, while Helios Express (gate 13), Ensued (12), Helene Feeling (11) and Massive Sovereign (10) all start from wide gates.

Shinn is one of four visiting jockeys flying in for the BMW Hong Kong Derby along with Ryan Moore (Ensued), James McDonald (Helene Feeling) and William Buick (Chancheng Glory). Shinn will ride at the Golden Slipper meeting in Sydney on Saturday (23 March) before flying to Hong Kong.

Sunday’s (24 March) 10-race Sha Tin card starts with the Class 4 Furore Handicap (1200m) at 12.45pm with the BMW Hong Kong Derby scheduled to start at 4.15pm.

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