Blake Shinn focused on the Crown

Blake Shinn refuses to be distracted from his quest for a second Sydney jockeys’ premiership, least of all by his two rivals.

In a bottleneck at the top of the ladder, less than three wins separate leader James MacDonald , Shinn and Hugh Bowman with six meetings of the season remaining.

Saturday’s Randwick program will be a final chance for the two chasers to peg back McDonald’s lead before he returns from an English riding stint next week.

Shinn has made it clear he wants to add to his 2007/08 title and says he can only do that if he remains focused on his own form.

“I’ve got a job to do and that’s to do the best I can for my owners and trainers and not worry about anyone else,” Shinn said.

That’s all I ever do and that’s why I ride winners.”

There was a time when Shinn might have taken a different approach.

Intense and single-minded, his competitive drive has often put him on the wrong side of stewards.

And while those attributes remain in Shinn’s make-up, he has learned to use them to advantage.

“The more I start to worry about the other riders and staying out of the stewards’ room, it’s only going to cloud my judgment,” he said.

“You’ve got to enjoy it. There’s no point putting pressure on myself.”

Shinn has five rides at Randwick including two for Gai Waterhouse who he combined with to win Thursday’s Grafton Cup on Bonfire.

He partners two-year-old Kimberley Star for Tulloch Lodge in the TAB Rewards Handicap and Mardi in the TAB Place Multi Handicap.

Waterhouse stable representative Mark Newnham says $4.60 chance Mardi has taken a fitness benefit from her first-up midfield effort on a heavy Randwick track, which was followed by a barrier trial.

“The weather after that meant you didn’t get a lot of tracks to work with so she went to Warwick Farm and had a good, solid hit-out in a trial and that’s allowed her to step up to the mile (1600m) on Saturday,” Newnham said.

All but one of Shinn’s Randwick rides are at single-figure odds, headed by the Peter Moody-trained Got You Double who is the early favourite.

Mandy Cottell – AAP

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