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 New Zealand Gallops News 
Wednesday, April 18 2018

Shaun Fannin is hoping one of his favourites can help him get back into the winner’s circle at Woodville on Thursday.


Jumps Jockey Shaun Fannin will be in action on the flat at Woodville on Thursday. - Race Images Palmerston North

Fannin, the star jumps jockey of the 2015-16 season, had a frustrating run over the final stages of last winter and is looking to make up for it as the current jumps season approaches.

His two winners this season were both eight months ago, at last August’s Grand National meeting at Riccarton, aboard the Kevin Myers-trained stablemates The Big Opal and Yipson.

Again it hasn’t all gone smoothly for the 22-year-old lately, having missed last week’s Rotorua meeting because of a shoulder injury. But he’s back in the saddle at Woodville riding the Myers-trained stablemates Bastille Babe and Tallyho Twinkletoes in the highweights.

“I’m looking forward to riding Tallyho Twinkletoes again,” Fannin said. “I rode him at Wanganui and he went a top race for second and on that run he should be hard to beat this time.

“He’s one of the best jumpers I’ve sat on. He’s very fluent in his action and, though he’s a day-to-day proposition, hopefully he’s over his injury woes.”

Much of the early work on Tallyho Twinkletoes had been done by his part-owner, former successful jumps jockey Jo Rathbone, and Fannin rode him for the first time in a maiden hurdle when seventh at Hastings in June 2015. 

Stable rider Matt Gillies then took over and won three straight on him, culminating in the 2015 Grand National Hurdles at Riccarton.

“He had two and a half years off with a tendon injury after the National and it’s good to see him back,” Fannin said.

Before displaying his expertise over fences, Tallyho Twinkletoes had shown his versatility when winning three times on the flat, an ability he rekindled last start.

Bastille Babe, Fannin’s other mount at Woodville, has yet to win, but finished third in January and has weighed-in since then in each of her three runs.

“I’ve been jumping her and she’ll love the wet track on Thursday,” Fannin said. “She’ll be one of the fittest in the field.”

Fannin is hoping to inch closer to achieving one of his goals this season with his rides on Tallyho Twinkletoes and Bastille Babe.

“I’ve still got a claim on the flat and I need two more winners to lose it. Hopefully I can get one on Thursday,” he said.

Obviously the biggest goal for Fannin is to resurrect his position at the top of the jumps jockeys’ ranks.

He and Myers combined to have an amazing winter in 2016 and ended that season with an incredible 27 jumps wins and the Champion Jumps Jockey of Year title.

He again enjoyed success last season with 11 victories over fences to finish third on the ladder behind Aaron Kuru (20) and Will Gordon (13) and won the most prestige jumps races.

But he had a setback when breaking his wrist on the final day of last August’s Grand National meeting. 

During his down time from race riding, Fannin has been kept very busy running Myers’ Waverley stable on his own.

“I’ve got 13 horses here, mostly two and three-year-olds and a handful of young ones I’m teaching to jump, and I do it all on my own,” he said. “I’ve been running it since the beginning of October and it’s kept me very busy. I’ve never been fitter in my life.”

As part of the Myers operation, Fannin has been riding at the point-to-point meetings around the area and has a team of young jumpers set to compete at the Waverley point-to-point on Sunday. 

Posted by: AT 07:55 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email