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Shinn steers Blondie to Valley stakes win

Blondie has lived up to trainer Brendan McCarthy’s pre-race confidence to deliver a stakes win on Cox Plate day at Moonee Valley.

The three-year-old was dropping back in distance in Saturday’s Listed Crockett Stakes (1200m) for fillies after weakening to finish last in the Edward Manifold Stakes at her most recent start.

McCarthy said he made a mistake that day.

“Putting the blinkers on her and going to 1600 metres was the wrong decision,” the trainer said.

McCarthy freshened the filly and kept the blinkers and pacifiers on for Saturday’s shorter race.

With Blake Shinn aboard, Blondie ($21) took up the running, cornered well and then held on to beat the fast-finishing Tarcoola Spirit ($26) by a long neck.

Favourite Demerara ($1.90) sat outside the leader in her first Melbourne start and finished another half-head away third.

Blondie has shown a liking for Moonee Valley, having now won two of her three starts at the track along with a second placing to Shoals in the Atlantic Jewel Stakes last month.

“I was very confident,” McCarthy said.

“She worked beautifully on Tuesday. It was the only gallop that she actually had between runs but it was just a gallop of a nice, fresh and well horse.

“So that gave me a lot of confidence.”

Sydney-based Shinn said it was a thrill to ride a winner for McCarthy who he had known for probably 15 years since he was an apprentice in Victoria.

“Coming home and competing throughout the spring carnival is really special, it means a lot to me,” Shinn said.

“And to be able to do it for trainers that I’ve had a connection with since I was an apprentice on a big day, somebody like Brendan McCarthy, it’s a big thrill.”

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