Veteran jockey Jim Cassidy won the Melbourne Cup with Kiwi in 1983 and Might And Power in 1997 and he is hopeful that Sydney Cup winner Grand Marshal can deliver him another win in the 2015 edition of ‘the race that stops a nation’.
Cassidy produced a vintage ride to steer Grand Marshal to victory in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Royal Randwick on April 11 and he was aboard the talented gelding when he made the first public appearance of his 2015 Spring Racing Carnival campaign in a barrier trial over 900 metres at Rosehill Gardens this morning.
Grand Marshal was outpaced throughout the trial and he finished at the tail of the field behind Team Hawkes-trained Himalaya Dream, but Cassidy told Sky Racing HQ that he was happy with the feel he got from the rising six-year-old and he said that he is looking forward to partnering the stayer as he builds towards the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 3.
“There was some quality there,” Cassidy said.
“Most of their stayers look good and they have done well since they went out and they look nice.
“I was very happy with the way that Grand Marshal felt and he looks tremendous.
“He has put on weight and I am really looking forward to the association with him heading into Melbourne.
“That is the way that it is turning now with a lot of the internationals coming, but I am very happy with the way that he looks and the way that he has come back.
“I have two Cups under my belt and it would be nice to have another one.”
Grand Marshal joined the Waller stable at the end of 2013 after previously being trained in the United Kingdom and he made a slow start to his Australian racing career, but was able to go to another level during his 2015 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival campaign.
He started his campaign with flat efforts in the TAB Rewards Handicap (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on February 7, the Listed Parramatta Cup (1900m) at the same venue on February 21 and the Listed Randwick City Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on March 21, but he produced an improved effort when fourth in the Group 3 Manion Cup (2400m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 21.
Grand Marshal hit the line strongly to finish third in the Group 2 Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) at Royal Randwick on April 6 before he produced the best performance of his career to date to score a narrow win over stablemate Who Shot Thebarman in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at the same venue a week later.
Grand Marshal is currently available at 2015 Melbourne Cup odds of $26 with Ladbrokes and will have the chance to join Carbine (1890) and Makybe Diva (2004) as the only horses to complete the Sydney Cup/Melbourne Cup double.