Cassidy teams up with Waller for Cup bid
Twenty-five years since the last of his two Newcastle Gold Cup wins, veteran jockey Jim Cassidy is poised to help leading trainer Chris Waller claim his first.
Cassidy will be reunited with Multilateral for the first time in 12 months in the $175,000 race at Broadmeadow on Thursday and his timing couldn't be better.
One of three runners Waller will have in an attempt to win one of the few NSW staying races to elude his all-conquering stable, the import is back in form with two victories this campaign including the Wyong Gold Cup.
"He'll be a nice ride," Cassidy said.
"I won about three races on him last spring and I'm looking forward to getting back on because it was a nice tough win at Wyong."
Cassidy won his first Newcastle Gold Cup on Indian Raj in 1986 but he hasn't added to his collection since Hunter scored in 1989.
Newcastle trainer Kris Lees will have three runners - all outsiders - in his bid to win the race for the first time.
Lees, who has continued a family tradition of running one of Australia's best stables from a provincial setting since the death of his father Max more than a decade ago, has had his share of near-misses in the race.
He has trained four Cup placegetters and the stable will have its biggest representation yet with imports Oriental Lady and Ay No Digas joined by Taree Cup winner Slivovitz.
Lees said he had a slight preference for Oriental Lady, a Brenton Avdulla mount who won three races in a row before finishing just on the worse side of midfield in the Premier's Cup at Randwick.
"I can't really split them but perhaps Oriental Lady is my best chance," Lees said.
"The speed of the race and luck in running is going to play a major role in the outcome."
Bookmakers are using the Wyong Gold Cup as their best reference in framing a market which has Multilateral the favourite to complete the double.