Veteran jockey Jim Cassidy has elected to ride Zoustar in the Group 2 Roman Consul Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on October 5 rather than partner Hawkspur in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington.
Cassidy has been the regular jockey for both Zoustar and Hawkspur since the 2013 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival and has partnered both horses to big victories this preparation; winning the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) with Zoustar and the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) with Hawkspur.
Cassidy is adamant that Hawkspur is good enough to win both the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) but revealed this morning that he is keen to maintain his partnership with Zoustar.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to make but I’ll be back riding Hawkspur in the Caulfield Cup,” Cassidy told TVN.
“Zoustar is an expensive commodity now being a Group 1-winning colt and I think it is important to continue my association with him.
“My decision doesn’t mean I have less an opinion of Hawkspur, he is the horse I still want to be on in the Caulfield Cup.”
Hawkspur will be making his Melbourne Racing debut next weekend against what is set to be a star-studded field in the Turnbull Stakes.
The Purrealist gelding stamped himself as a leading contender for the major ‘Cups’ with his dominant three and a half lengths victory in the Chelmsford Stakes at Royal Randwick on September 7 and started the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) last weekend as clear favourite but was only able to finish fourth after making up ground late.
Hawkspur will contest the Caulfield Cup on October 19, carrying a weight of 53kg, and is expected to push on to the Melbourne Cup at Flemington on November 5.
Zoustar will eventually join Hawkspur in Melbourne but trainer Chris Waller has confirmed that the Northern Meteor colt will not contest the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 12, with the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) on November 2 set to be his major target.