Cassidy close to returning
Champion jockey Jim Cassidy could be back riding in races as early as next month after a quicker than expected recovery from serious hand injuries suffered in a gardening accident.
Cassidy underwent surgery in September after slicing two fingers on his right hand when he slipped while trimming a hedge at his Sydney home.
He was sidelined for the bulk of the spring carnival but in typical Cassidy style, he has remained upbeat and is already back riding trackwork at Randwick and Rosehill.
"I rode a couple on Melbourne Cup day, a couple Thursday and Saturday and I’ll be riding a couple again tomorrow," Cassidy said.
"The fingers are still pretty sore but they’re getting there.
"It has healed quicker than I thought.
"I’m probably three to four weeks or a month away from coming back, any earlier than that would be a bonus."
Cassidy is one of an elite group of riders to have won the four major races on the Australian calendar – the Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Golden Slipper.
However, his career has been punctuated by injury in recent years.
In June 2007, Cassidy suffered a broken ankle, broken ribs and knee injuries when the horse he was riding in the Queensland Derby snapped a leg.
A year later he spent nine months out of the saddle with a shoulder injury which required reconstructive surgery.
Despite his misfortunes, the jockey known as "The Pumper" has continually climbed back to the top of the tree and last autumn won Group One races aboard Vision And Power and Roman Emperor.
He has again dispelled any thoughts of retirement and said he didn’t consider giving riding away, even though he came close to losing one of his fingers.
"No, I never give up me," Cassidy said.
"I’ll be back.
Cassidy has spent his enforced break enjoying time with his family while keeping a close eye on the spring carnival action.
He rated fellow jockey Corey Brown’s effort to win the Victoria Derby (Monaco Consul), Melbourne Cup (Shocking) and Emirates Stakes (All American) in the space of a week as his highlight.
Cassidy said he was not booked for any key rides at this stage.
"I’m just looking forward to getting back out there and getting going."
By Mandy Cottell