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 New Zealand Gallops News 
Monday, May 15 2017

Shaun Fannin has set himself a hard act to follow, but he isn't about to let his standards slip.

Shaun Fannin - Trish Dunell

The 21-year-old distanced his rivals in the 2015-16 race for the jumping jockeys' crown, finishing with 25 winners and nine clear of former title holder Michael Mitchell.

"That was a pretty freakish season for me and I don't like finishing second so I want to win the premiership again and have another good go at the Grand Nationals and the Great Northerns," Fannin said.

He has formed a potent partnership with Kevin Myers and they looked to be within touching distance of an Australian feature earlier this month before a heart-breaking tumble.

Fannin parted company with Slowpoke Rodriguez, who is part-owned by the Wanganui trainer, when challenging at the final fence in the Grand Annual Steeplechase at Warrnambool.

However, Fannin is in pole position for major domestic honours on Saturday with top rides for Myers at Te Rapa.

He will partner the gun fencer Sea King in the Porritt Sand Waikato Hurdles and The Big Opal in the Warren Storm Lifebrokers Waikato Steeplechase.

He is expecting Sea King to show significant improvement after a last-start sixth at Hastings.

"It turned into a bit of a sprint really and he had a big weight (71kg), but he should be spot on for Saturday," Fannin said.

He has similar expectations of The Big Opal, who finished runner-up behind Just Ishi at the Hawke's Bay meeting.

"It was a good hit-out for him and he gave the winner six kilos," Fannin said. "That was his first steeplechase for a while so he will be ready for Saturday as well."

Fannin's more immediate focus will be on Thursday's Otaki meeting where he will ride the Myers pair of Montpelier (Hunting and Fishing Otaki Highweight) and Eddie Gilbert (Riverstone Café Highweight). Both horses finished second at their last-starts.

"That was a super run from Montpelier and she should be in the top two at least," he said. "I would be disappointed if Eddie Gilbert doesn't go very close again as well."

Posted by: Racing Desk AT 02:34 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email