An undefeated Brisbane Winter Carnival campaign by Hawkspur was enough to convince veteran jockey Jim Cassidy that the Chris Waller trained galloper would be his chance to win another Caulfield Cup.
Cassidy won the Group 1 $2.5m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) on Might And Power in 1997 and again on Tiatribe in 2000 and another victory on Saturday in the rich Spring Carnival Handicap will see him record his one hundredth Group 1 win and join George Moore, 119 wins, and Roy Higgins, 108, as the only Australian jockeys to ride more than a hundred Group 1 winners.
The evergreen jockey knew he was on a special horse when Hawkspur made a clean sweep of the staying three year old races in Brisbane and immediately declared him as his ride for Caulfield Cup.
“I said after Brisbane he would be my Cup ride, I made the statement then,” Cassidy told the Sportsman.
“Everyone was all yeah, yeah, yeah Brisbane form but I had wraps on him before anyone else and we’re nearly there.”
Hawkspur kicked off his winter campaign with a win in the Group 3 $125,000 Mittys Rough Habit Plate (2100m) at Eagle Farm on May 11 followed by a win in the Group 3 $150,000 Mullins Lawyers Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) at Doomben.
Then Cassidy produced a positive ride to score a dominant win in the Group 1 $500,000 Channel Seven Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm on June 8.
Cassidy has been sweating on his one hundredth Group 1 win after swooping to victory on the Waller trained Zoustar in the Group 1 $1m De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on September 14.
Hawkspur gave him a chance in the Group 1 $350,000 George Main Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on September 21 and ran home strongly to finish fourth to Streama.
The Purrealist four year old has had one more run leading up to the Caulfield Cup for an eye catching fifth to Happy Trails in the Group 1 $500,000 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 5 when ridden by Michael Walker when Cassidy elected to stay in Sydney to ride Zoustar who comfortably won the Group 2 $175,000 Roman Consul Stakes (1200m) at Randwick.
“It’d just be nice to win the Cup and if that happens obviously that’ll be the hundred,” Cassidy said.
“Hawkspur has some great owners, Chris and I are Kiwis so it will be good if we can do it and I don’t see why not.”
“He’s going so well, I thought he was the real deal after Brisbane and so far he is living up to it.”
Cassidy has brushed aside a wide barrier draw and will jump from fourteen in the eighteen horse field if the emergencies don’t gain a start.
You always need luck in any race and if Hawspur gets his fair share Cassidy in confident they can do the job.
“Like you always need in a big race if he gets the luck in running he will be hard to beat,” Cassidy said.
“He can race anywhere, he’s very athletic and you can make a couple of runs on him. Not many horses can do those sorts of things, so that is why he is going do well.’
“He ticks all the boxes for what you need, I know that.”
Hawkspur drifted slightly in the Caulfield Cup market order after the barrier draw but held on to the top spot at $4.80 with stablemate Royal Descent firming into $6.50 with Silent Achiever also solid in the betting at $8.
David Hayes’ import Jet Away is now a $9.50 chance in front of English galloper Dandino at $10 and Fawkner at $12.