Blake Shinn needed just 56.55 seconds to return to the winner's circle in a dream comeback from a life-threatening neck injury.
Shinn charged home on two-year-old first-starter Dawn Passage in the first at Randwick and immediately looked to the heavens after the winning post.
While not a religious man, Shinn told The Sun-Herald he was a big believer in fate and was delighted his five months of hard work to get back in the saddle was immediately rewarded.
Beautiful thing: Blake Shinn returns to scale on Dawn Passage.Credit:AAP
The 31-year-old also pointed out that he booted home a winner on his first day back at work when he returned from a betting disqualification.
Shinn later in the day turned miracle worker when he brought up a double on perennial placegetter Tom Melbourne, with racecaller Darren Flindell trumpeting: "They need to give him an Order of Australia Medal because he's the first jockey to win on Tom in three years.''
"You can't ask for a better start, it's the kind of start you can dream of,'' Shinn said.
"A lot of things have happened the last five months, and it's all come together.
"I really believe things happen for a reason.
"When I think about my life and who I've become, there's someone looking down on me.
"We won the Melbourne Cup [on Viewed] by a whisker, missed out on a Golden Slipper winner [Sebring] because of suspension, came back and won the Slipper [on Capitalist], and I could have lost my life in a fall only to walk away with a broken neck.
"I remember I came back from my betting disqualification, and my second ride on my first day back I won on Tellora at Sandown.
"I won a race for Wendy Walter on her last day of training with I've Got The Looks, and that was a tribute to [the late] Guy Walter.
"There are some beautiful things that have happened in racing. Today is another one.''
Shinn was speared into the turf during a Randwick trial in August and fractured his C1 and C3 vertabrae. Only two per cent of people who suffered his injury avoided being a quadriplegic.
Shinn went to bed at 10pm on Friday and gave himself a rare Saturday off from trackwork. He weighed in at 55.5kg, a comfortable weight for him he said.
"When I put my head on the pillow I said to myself, 'I can not have done any more to prepare myself for today','' Shinn said.
One member of the crowd yelled out ''welcome back, my boy'', as Shinn smiled upon returning to scale. Shinn kissed the hand of former Australian Turf Club board member Wilf Mula.
Gai Waterhouse has always been a big supporter of Shinn and praised the hard work he had put in to return.
"It just felt like I was coming back to work and I felt very calm and relaxed, not nervous – it felt like another day at the races, which is great,'' he said.
It was a rollercoaster week for one of the country's best jockeys as the family were forced to close down their stables in Victoria because of the cobalt saga. The Hope racing stable tweeted they were ''bursting with pride'' within minutes of Shinn kicking home Dawn Passage.
Dawn Passage and Shinn were camped in the middle of the pack before the gaps opened and the colt showed brilliant speed to put three lengths on his rivals.
Shinn gave Tom Melbourne a dream ride and looked the winner 300m out. He was the first jockey to ride Tom Melbourne when he arrived at Chris Waller's stable and recalled getting pipped on the post, so it was nice for both of them to redeem themselves.
Source: Read Full Article