Shinn booked for Caorunn

Caorunn (Lisa Allpress) cruising to victory at Awapuni. (Photo: Race Images).

Caorunn (Lisa Allpress) cruising to victory at Awapuni. (Photo: Race Images).

Top Australian jockey Blake Shinn will ride leading candidate Caorunn in Sunday week’s Listed $1 million NZB Karaka Million (1200m) at Ellerslie.

Cambridge trainers Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young have booked Shinn for not only Caorunn, but also Gr.3 Wellington Stakes winner Tavago in the Listed NZB Karaka 3YO Mile and runaway last-start Taupo winners Predator and Pentagon Achiever.

Busuttin was delighted to confirm Shinn’s engagement through his agent Bryan Haskins, who also manages Hugh Bowman, another jockey who was high on the stable’s shopping list.

“I don’t think there’s anyone riding better in Australia at the moment than Blake,” said Busuttin. “I get on well with his manager, who also manages Hugh Bowman, and both those guys were at the top of our list.”

Shinn, who rode Viewed to win the 2008 Melbourne Cup, is currently third to Kiwi jockeys James McDonald and Jason Collett on the Sydney metropolitan riders’ premiership.

A $60,000 purchase through Wayne and Vicki Pike’s Longlands Stud at last year’s select yearling sale at Karaka,

Caorunn hasn’t race since his impressive win at Awapuni on December 17 but the Showcasing gelding showed he was on song with a smart trial win at Cambridge yesterday.

“We were 50-50 whether to send him to the trials or race him on Saturday and in the end we felt the trial fitted better,” said Busuttin.

“He won his trial comfortably, as he should. He was a two-win two-year-old trialling against maidens but his time was good and he did it easily.

“He’ll gallop at Ellerslie next Wednesday to have a look at the track. They always say you need at least one race at Ellerslie first but you look at the record of the Australian horses who are coming over and winning the race just about every second year and they haven’t raced at Ellerslie before. And our fella is pretty professional.”

Caorunn is currently the equal fifth favourite for the Karaka Million at $10 behind last-start Gr. 3 Eclipse Stakes winner Manolo Blahniq at $2.80, O’Reilly Cyrus and The Soultaker at $6 and Sacred Elixir at $7.

The Busuttin-Young team will shoot for Group One success with the Tavistock gelding Curragh in Saturday’s Woodridge Homes Levin Classic (1600m) at Trentham.

“We’ve got a good opinion of the horse,” said Busuttin. “While his last two

runs on paper don’t look that flash, a big mile race at Trentham should suit him nicely. Xtravagant looks the winner, but you take him out and it’s a pretty even field.”

– NZ Racing Desk