Veteran jockey Jim Cassidy was lucky to have won his fifth Crown Oaks on Dear Demi at Flemington today after owner John Singleton wanted to replace him earlier in the week.
Singleton was disgusted with Cassidy’s ride on Dear Demi when the filly was an unlucky fourth behind Zydeco in last Saturday’s Group 2 $300,000 Wakeful Stakes (2000m) at Flemington.
Singleton told tainer Clarry Conners that he wanted top Sydney jockey Nash Rawiller to replace Cassidy in the Group 1 $1m Crown Oaks (2500m) today but had to reinstate Cassidy after Rawiller was suspended.
“I spoke to Clarry on Saturday night, he asked me to talk to Jimmy. Jimmy wisely didn’t ring till Sunday. Actually I said well we’ll get rid of him and put Nash on,” Singleton said.
“Then Nash got suspended, so Jimmy got reinstated. There was no friendliness exchanged on Sunday morning and I know that Jimmy couldn’t ride that bad again.”
“The last three starts if you look at them they were bad luck stories, she was held up, held up, all she wanted was Flemington. Jimmy I think he was an eighteen year old trying to impress again.”
“You’re only on her because Nash is suspended,” Singleton told Cassidy.
But Cassidy was able to produce a flawless ride today and settle Dear Demi near the tail of the field with the leaders setting a good pace up front.
Cassidy made his move on the home turn and followed favourite Zydeco forward before peeling to the outside and giving the Dehere filly a clear run to line down the middle of the tack and was able to run down Zydeco over the final 100m to capture a clear cut win.
“2500m, a lot of them were a query at the trip. She was unlucky in the Wakeful and really it just topped her off for today,” Cassidy said.
“She could be a Caulfield Cup mare next year.”
“I peeled off outside Macca when I straightened, I said to John I’ll get to the front at the clock tower, I got there and hadn’t moved so.”
Conners was relieved that Dear Demi had a lot more luck in her race today and was able to show everybody what a good filly she is.
“Finally she has. She’s been there for the last prep and a half, raced in all the big races and she’s had bad luck the last four starts,” Conners said.
“She keeps trying, she has a heart as big as anything you can imagine. She’s just keep tyring and it was a very gutsy win today.”
Singleton and Connors have had a lot of success over a long period of time including a Golden Slipper win back in 2000 with Belle De Jour.
Dear Demi was sent out the $5 second favourite and was able to score by one and a quarter lengths from favourite Zydeco ($2.40) with Summerbliss ($9) a further one and three quarter lengths away in third spot.
Kerrin McEvoy gave Zydeco a perfect run midfield on the fence and gave the filly every chance after getting into the clear at the top of the straight but couldn’t hold off the strong finish of Dear Demi.