Cassidy starting a new chapter in QLD
Former Sydney jockey Larry Cassidy has been rushed with offers over the Australia Day weekend as he begins a new chapter in his riding career in Queensland.
Cassidy, 38, has a full book of eight rides including Newcastle mare Ugly Betty in the Listed Cadell-Garrick Handicap (1200m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday and six early rides for the Australia Day meeting at Doomben on Monday.
In between, Cassidy will travel to Caloundra on Sunday where he has five early rides.
Cassidy rode trackwork at Eagle Farm last Saturday and again on Monday and Tuesday before six rides in Tuesday’s Doomben barrier trials.
“I rode a winner in the trials and I’m looking forward to starting at Eagle Farm this Saturday,” Cassidy said.
“My weight is down to 53 kilos after I lost two kilos riding today. I feel good but I do feel the heat a bit.”
Cassidy, who has won 40 Group One races, recently quit Sydney racing where small field sizes and lack of opportunities forced him to move.
“It was just too difficult in Sydney. All the main stables have stable riders and even second riders,” Cassidy said.
“I used to ride a lot for John Hawkes when he was at Crown Lodge and I was associated with Gai Waterhouse for a while but it’s incredibly difficult there now.”
Cassidy, whose wife Michelle and two children, Luke, 11, and five-year-old Jade plan to move permanently to Brisbane in April, is looking forward to his new Brisbane venture.
“I would have ridden at Eagle Farm last Saturday and ridden Ugly Betty but I wasn’t organised in time,” he said.
The Kris Lees-trained Ugly Betty scored a resounding win for jockey Brad Pengelly in a 1200-metre race at Eagle Farm last Saturday.
“It’s a step-up to a Listed race for Ugly Betty but she won well enough last time to show she’s worthy of a chance again,” Cassidy said.
Cassidy, who has rejected overtures to ride permanently for Gold Coast trainer Gillian Heinrich, has set himself a goal to win next season’s Brisbane jockeys’ premiership.
“I spoke to Gillian about riding for her when I was at the Magic Millions but I’ve decided to ride freelance,” he said.
“But after I settle in I’ll go to the Gold Coast to ride work once a week.”
Cassidy has been given no guarantees from Brisbane trainers but is certain to be in strong demand from Eagle Farm’s leading trainers Barry Baldwin, Rob Heathcote and Liam Birchley.