Katsidis could risk third premiership

Stathi Katsidis is the new leader in the battle for Brisbane’s riding honours this season but may risk a third premiership to ride at Grafton next week.
Katsidis landed a double at Doomben but played second fiddle to rival Larry Cassidy who continued his outstanding recent form with another treble to follow up his four wins at the track two weeks ago.

Katsidis’ wins were aboard Klairefontein in Wednesday’s Panasonic Power Tools Plate (1040m) and Huckleberry Dane in the 1300Comfort Handicap (1100m).

The double enabled him to leapfrog former leader Jim Byrne to go to 65 wins, one win clear of Cassidy while Byrne’s winless day also kept him on 64 wins.

The season ends on July 31 but Katsidis, who missed riding in Brisbane for more than a month due to commitments in Sydney during the autumn, won’t be available for the final meeting.

He will be in Melbourne to ride AJC Australian Derby winner Shoot Out in the Group Three Bletchingly Stakes at Caulfield.

Katsidis remains confident he can clinch the premiership but acknowledged it would be difficult if he rode at Grafton.

“It’s going to be hard knowing I won’t be here for the final meeting,” Katsidis said.

“But I could throw a spanner in the works if I decide to ride at Grafton next week even though there’s a meeting in Brisbane the same day.

“It feels good to be leading but there’s a long way to go. It’s like being in a race and being at the half-mile.

“Sometimes midweek meetings are boring but this battle has added some spark and Larry (Cassidy) has been riding exceptionally well.”

Katsidis believes he’ll need to be at least two wins clear of Byrne and Cassidy before the final meeting of the season if he’s to win the premiership.

“I find riding multiple winners at the midweeks harder than at other times,” he said.

“I’ll need to be two or three in front on the final day when I’m away to have any hope, otherwise I can’t win.

“It’s going to go down to the last meeting and on statistics I should win it but anything can happen.”

Cassidy refuses to get carried away with his success which could result in him winning the Brisbane premiership for the first time.

A three-time winner of the premiership in Sydney, Cassidy produced an outstanding effort to finish third in last season’s Brisbane premiership following his move from Sydney halfway through the season.

“I’ve given myself a chance now but there’s still a long way to go yet,” Cassidy said.

Cassidy’s wins were all for trainer Rob Heathcote, aboard Fillydelphia (Panasales Group Handicap), Cartier Belle (Panasonic Airconditioning Maiden) and Mr Nicholas in the FS Multi Airconditioning Systems Handicap.