Cassidy wins, Singleton forgives

A cheque for $600,000 helped restore an old friendship at Flemington on Thursday.

But it didn’t prevent colourful owner John Singleton from telling it like it is.

Singleton privately paid out on jockey Jim Cassidy after his ride on Dear Demi in last Saturday’s Wakeful Stakes.

After the filly won the VRC Oaks (2500m) with Cassidy in the saddle five days later, Singleton made his feelings public.

“I’ve never seen Jimmy ride so bad as he did in the Wakeful,” Singleton said.

“He cost us the race, that’s for sure.

“I actually sacked him.”

But when replacement jockey Nash Rawiller was later suspended, Singleton reinstated Cassidy on the condition that he lift his game.

“I told him he had to ride her like he rode Kiwi when they won the Melbourne Cup,” Singleton said.

“Told him to get out wide.”

The Oaks is the second major race this spring in which Singleton’s relationship with those he pays to win races for him has been tested.

Three weeks ago things became strained between he and trainer Gai Waterhouse when she notoriously chose barrier 11 for Singleton’s star mare More Joyous in the Cox Plate.

When More Joyous finished 11th in the race, Singleton snubbed Waterhouse.

The once enduring bond remains under review.

With Cassidy, though, forgiveness was as swift as Dear Demi’s finishing burst in the three-year-old classic that multiplied her already substantial value.

“I forgive ya,” Singleton said as he embraced the jockey.

Chances are the jockey’s name was also put back on the guest list for Singleton’s 70th birthday celebration on Friday.