Nash Rawiller’s number was one of the first to pop up on the phone of Blake Shinn, who plans to lean on Fiorente’s deposed rider for advice before taking the plum Cox Plate (2040m) ride.
Capping a dramatic 24 hours in which he was granted the seat on Gai Waterhouse’s Melbourne Cup runner-up, Shinn got his eye in with three low-key rides at Kembla Grange yesterday.
The Group1-winning rider told the Mercury he would seek advice from Rawiller, dumped from Fiorente after the stallion’s slashing fourth in the Turnbull Stakes (2000m), before the weight-for-age championship next Saturday.
‘‘I haven’t spoken to Nash about the horse [yet],’’ Shinn said.
‘‘Nash rang and congratulated me about the ride which is fantastic sportsmanship on his behalf.
‘‘Once I get closer to the race I’ll have a chat to him to learn a bit more about the horse.
‘‘His runs are there to be seen. It’s not an easy race to win and there are some great horses in the race. I’m going in there thinking I’m on the horse who I think can win the race.’’
Shinn’s booking capped a tumultuous fortnight for connections of Fiorente, who axed Rawiller for settling the Melbourne Cup favourite too far back in the Turnbull.
They enlisted Damien Oliver’s services for the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup, but he fell foul of stewards at Caulfield on Wednesday and was suspended for 12 meetings for careless riding.
In an ironic twist, Rawiller’s name could never have come into calculations for a stunning about-face after he was also suspended at Warwick Farm on Wednesday.
It meant jockeys were queued up for the ride on the $5.50 equal second favourite before Waterhouse settled on Shinn.
Atlantic Jewel dominates betting at $2.20.
Shinn’s ties with some of Fiorente’s connections can be tracked back to 2008 Golden Slipper winner Sebring, who had Glen Boss up for the world’s richest two-year-old race after Shinn rode him in the lead-up races.
‘‘Gai has given me some great opportunities in the last couple of months winning on Spurtonic and King Cobia the other day,’’ Shinn said.
‘‘She’s shown great faith in me to put me on this horse and she obviously thought I’m the right man for the job.
‘‘It’s a great thrill. This is what we work hard for 12 months of the year to get opportunities like these and I’m just rapt to get the call up for a ride like this.’’
Shinn’s first task will be trying to repay Waterhouse’s faith in the Listed City Tattersalls Club Cup (2400m) at Randwick today. He pilots Tibbie Stakes winner Vaquera after her last-start third in the Group3 Craven Plate (2000m).
‘‘She went great last start,’’ Shinn said.
‘‘[Today’s] an ideal race for her getting up to a suitable distance of 2400m and I think she’s perfectly suited dropping back from weight-for-age to a handicap.’’