$600,000 fine for visiting bars: Blake Shinn’s huge blow

Australian jockey Blake Shinn has been fined an astronomical HK$600,000 for breaking Hong Kong Jockey Club rules by “frequenting several bars”.

Stewards in Hong Kong issued the monster penalty – worth around AU$106,000 at the current exchange rate – because the Aussie breached club-mandated Covid protocols which restrict the movements of jockeys.

Shinn drove to a handful of places he was not allowed to visit – including bars and nightclubs – between May 29 and June 5, while serving a reckless driving ban, and then interacted with other HKJC employees and authorized persons.

He pleaded guilty to acting “in a manner prejudicial to the proper conduct of horse racing” and was given the maximum monetary penalty allowed.

Blake Shinn wins the Chartered Champions & Chater Cup (G1 2400m) at Sha Tin on Russian Emperor. (Photo by Lo Chun Kit/Getty Images)

“By recklessly breaching the club’s mandated Covid protocols when he frequented a number of bars during the above-mentioned period, he jeopardized the measures imposed by the club to ensure the continuation of horse racing,” said HKJC chief steward Kim Kelly in a statement.

“After considering all relevant issues associated with the sanction, including, but not limited to, the significant potential ramifications of a violation of rules and protocols while continuing the race and the need for deterrence, the commissioners felt that a fine of $600,000 was the appropriate sentence.”

Shinn, who has won three Group 1s this season, has already confirmed he is leaving Hong Kong in July and returning to Australia to prioritize his mental health after enduring months of grueling restrictions.

The 34-year-old is the third participant in the Hong Kong race to be fined HK$600,000 for breaking HKJC’s Covid protocols, following in the footsteps of Frankie Lor and Dennis Yip, who both transgressed in February at the height of the pandemic in the city.

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