iskander

Katsidis fears Cassidy's late surge


Stathi Katsidis believes he’s a great chance of landing at least two winners at Eagle Farm but fears it may not be enough to halt rival Larry Cassidy’s charge for the season’s riding honours.

Katsidis has gained a doctors’ clearance to take a full book of seven rides on Wednesday, his final meeting before heading to Melbourne to partner AJC Australian Derby winner Shoot Out in the Bletchingly Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.

He goes into the meeting with 72 wins for the season, a one-win lead over Cassidy after missing last Saturday’s Eagle Farm fixture with a virus.

LARRY

Cassidy made the most of Katsidis’ misfortune with a winning quartet.

“I’ve had a virus. I had a sweat last Friday and the next morning I had muscle soreness all over my body and I could hardly stand up,” Katsidis said.

“I was really crook for three days and I’m still only about 70 per cent right but I’ve got a doctor’s clearance and I’m fit to ride.”

Katsidis believes his two best rides are Pumplechook in the Carlton Mid Handicap (1600m) and Point Pain in the Bankwest Handicap (1200m).

“Pumplechook won two in a row at Caloundra and Rockhampton then was placed at Caloundra last start so his form looks good for this race,” Katsidis said.

“Point Pain was very impressive winning at Caloundra last start and he’s down in the weights this time.

“I’ve also got two other good chances with Golden Success and Grand Homme but I think Larry has some good rides and he could get a treble quite easily.

“If I can jag a winner from some of my other rides then it may be enough but it’s very close.”

Katsidis believes he’ll need to finish the day with a two-win buffer over Cassidy before the season’s final meeting at Doomben on Saturday.

Cassidy has been in sensational form over the past month in his bid to win the Brisbane premiership for the first time.

The former Kiwi was driven out of Sydney racing by a lack of opportunities despite a record of 41 Group One wins, more than 2200 career victories and being a success in six countries.

Cassidy has wasted no time reaching the top since his arrival in Brisbane halfway through the 2008-09 season.

Winners came so quickly for Cassidy he finished third in last season’s premiership despite riding only half the season, and he won his 42nd Group One aboard New Zealander Court Ruler in the Queensland Derby at Eagle Farm.

It was the seventh Derby winner of his career.

Cassidy has five rides on Wednesday and his best hopes of overtaking Katsidis appear to rest with Mac’s Hero in the IGT Maiden Plate (1200m) and Indeed I Am in the Hi Octane Plate (2200m).

“On paper Mac’s Hero in the first race looks my best ride but at these midweek races when your rides don’t look flash any horse can win,” Cassidy said.