Shane Arnold marks return with smart Scone win

Shane Arnold was back in the winner’s circle at Scone on Tuesday. Image: Bradley Photos.

It took eight rides and two months, but Shane S Arnold has got the monkey off his back after winning at Scone on Tuesday. 

Riding for Armidale trainer Mark Ostini, the 32-year-old jumped about $31 outsider Sacred Delago in the 900m Class One Handicap. 

No stranger to riding a winner, with 102 victories to his name, Arnold pushed forward from gate seven, travelling three wide before the pair pulled away to win comfortably in the end, putting two lengths on their rivals. 

Taking just one ride on the program, Arnold said he got on the six-year-old at the right time. 

“I watched his last couple of runs, and he’s a fast horse, and he nearly got away with it back at Tamworth when Mikayla was on him, and they just got run down in the shadows of the post, and that was over 1200m,” Arnold told NSW Country and Picnic Racing. 

“Last start, nothing went right, and I think I was lucky enough to benefit from being in the right place at the right time. 

“The 900m was always going to suit, and he is rock-hard fit, so I knew what I needed to do.

“I kept it really simple and gave him a squeeze out of the gates and rolled with him for that first half-a-furlong, and he did the rest to win.”

Arnold hadn’t ridden a winner since April 2022, when getting home on the Stephen Gleeson-trained Irish Kin at Gunnedah, and he was thrilled to break the drought. 

“It gets the monkey off my back; I still get a good kick out of any winner,” Arnold said. 

“I try and ride every horse to their merit and give them every possible chance, and to get the winner was good. 

“Plus, to do it for Mark, that was the cherry on top; since I’ve come back, I’ve only had a half-a-dozen rides or so, and he is a good guy who has stood by me and offered me plenty of support.”

Based in Newcastle, Arnold rides trackwork for Nathan Doyle. He explained why he spent some time out of the racing saddle.

“It’s just been weight battles and the family,” Arnold said.

“Yeah, my weight was causing me a few issues, but at that time, my wife (Charlotte) and I had our first child (Oscar), and I wanted to be around for all the good stuff with him. 

“I’m riding work six mornings a week, and not going to the races and travelling everywhere has allowed me to be close to him.

“I’ve been taking him to swimming lessons, daycare, and doing all those one-percenters.” 

When asked about his return, Arnold said providing for his family was his number one priority. 

“We’re trying to have our second and hopefully give Oscar a brother or sister,” he said. 

“My whole outlook on life changed when Oscar was born, and I knew I had to provide for them, and that’s aided my return a lot. 

“I was watching racing every day, and I knew I had more to offer, and watching all these horses’ winning races for trainers that I used to ride for, well, that got the bug back, and once you’ve got the bug, it never leaves you. 

“Still, the main motivator is providing for my young family and things like that. 

“In the times we’re in, it’s getting tough, and nothing’s getting cheaper, and I knew it was a good job where I could make plenty of money, support my family, and do something I love.”

With his weight back on track, Arnold hopes Tuesday’s winner gets his name back out there. 

“You’re gone a week in this game, and people think you’ve fallen off the face of the earth, and I’ve been gone a while, so I know it’s not going to happen overnight,” he said. 

“Kurt Dodson is looking after my rides now, and hopefully, this winner will kick us along a bit and put our name up in lights. 

“The plan is to get on a bit of a roll from here and make a good go of it.

“I was walking around at about 65-67kg when I was off, and it wasn’t easy as nothing comes easy, but I got on a good diet, did plenty of work, and today I rode at 56.5kg. 

“I’m in a good place mentally and physically, and I’m hoping I can get back to 55kg.”

Arnold is no slouch in the saddle and is keen to leave his mark in the Hunter-North West riding ranks. 

To book the Newcastle-based jockey, call Kurt on 0468 942 774.