Shane Dye Australian Jockey
Shane Dye New Zealand Champion Apprentice
No matter how impressive the pedigree or preferred conditions, tracks or tactics, there simply are no thoroughbreds that can achieve greatness unless matched with a jockey who can make the most of a horse’s strengths, minimize its weaknesses and combine those abilities with a keen knowledge of the distance being covered and the traits of the competition involved from other horses and riders.
This ability to maximize a horse’s potential and squeeze every last drop of performance from it is personified in one of Australia’s all-time great jockeys, a man named Raymond Shane Dye. shane dye
Calling his career successful is several levels of adjectives lacking for an accurate description.
Shane Dye was born in New Zealand in 1966, moving to Australia in the late 80s after demonstrating his abilities in his homeland to a degree that earned him the title New Zealand Champion Apprentice for the years of 1983 to 1985.
Dedication Pays Off
His talent and dedication soon found him attracting the attentions of various owners and trainers.
It was said that he would begin the process of analyzing his future rides far in advance, sometimes weeks and months, a level of attention to detail that doubtlessly served him well.
When his was working his way through the ranks, it was not uncommon for his aggressive attitude on and off the track to be mistaken for arrogance and his willingness to say what he thought without mincing his words and never being shy about offering his opinions did nothing to allay that conclusion.
It often seemed as though Shane Dye was bragging, something that is not looked upon kindly in an endeavor where actions speak louder than words, but Dye’s actions backed up his words to a degree that he eventually won the grudging admiration and acceptance of his critics.
Dye Wins 4 Golden Slippers
Punters, who of course care little for anything except taking money from the tote, quickly adopted Dye for winning four consecutive Golden Slipper Stakes and the 1989 Melbourne Cup on Tawrific.
Shane Dye also won four Derbies on various occasions to go with nine Oaks titles.
Other career highlights would be close to 100 Group 1 wins, over 2300 in events of various classification, 79 wins in his first season and Sydney premierships in 1990-91 and 1996-97 and a clearer picture of Dye’s effectiveness begins to gain clarity.
Shane Dye was the first jockey to win over 100 times in one Sydney racing season, a season where he earned over $7 million in prize money.
He has won beyond 2300 races in Australia, New Zealand, Honk Kong and Mauritius.
As it almost an expectation for a jockey, Dye’s career has had more than one unexpected detour.
Caulfield Cup 1992 Not A Good Ride
The 1992 Caulfield Cup found him under investigation for riding his mount, Veandercross, wide while the pair was leading, the result being a narrow loss to Mannerism, which stewards felt might have been a deliberate act of sabotage on Dye’s part, an allegation he vehemently denied, claiming that poor track conditions and a concern for his horse’s well-being prompted the maneuver.
Then there was a serious head injury and coma in 2006 that caused him to miss three months’ worth of business. His powers of recuperation apparently had him cutting his expected absence in half
Mauritius stewards fined and suspended him for an incident in 2010 for the rather vague accusation of not having raced to their satisfaction in the home stretch of a race on their turf.
Shane Dye has also struggled against the perception that he routinely poaches rides from other jockeys, but this could be a simple case of jealousy over his vast success and it could rightly be said that he is not the first to have done this in a tough business. More than one jockey has experienced this dilemma and one of Dye’s stature and longevity is inevitably going to attract critics.
Shane Dye A Champion Jockey No Doubt
Trailing only George Moore and Roy Higgins in total career victories, the name of Shane Dye has become synonymous with ability, longevity, keen preparation and a willingness to face all comers and look them in the eye.
His four Slipper wins have earned him the title of Australia’s “Golden Boy” of racing and anyone who is familiar with his outstanding achievements and contributions to the sport of horse racing acknowledges that he is deservedly mentioned when great jockeys are the subject of discussion.