Jim Cassidy’s riding career comes to an end

Jim Cassidy has ridden the racing rollercoaster so many times that he takes missing out on his final Group One mount in his stride.

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The champion jockey will retire without adding to his 104 Group One wins after the scratching of his VRC Oaks mount Dawnie Perfect.

The 52-year-old was not about to let that overshadow his final day of competitive riding.

“That’s racing, it’s the way the cookie crumbles I say,” Cassidy told AAP.

“I’ve said it for a long time and that’s what happens in racing, you’re there one minute and you’re not the next. It’s just the way things are.”

The New Zealand-born jockey nicknamed the Pumper is one of only four riders to have notched 100 Group One winners.

The secret to his longevity in the tough and competitive profession comes down to self-belief and backing your own ability.

“I’m tough. I’ve ridden the rollercoaster ride and I’m still here,” he said.

“I never say never. If I had said never, well I wouldn’t be here today.”

His fellow jockeys formed a guard of honour for Cassidy at Flemington on Thursday.

“He’s an icon of the sport. An icon of the jockeys’ room, a real character who’ll be sorely missed,” Sydney’s leading jockey Hugh Bowman said.

Kiwi hoop Michael Walker grew up idolising Cassidy before having what he describes as the huge privilege of riding against him.

“Amazing rider through his ups and downs and he’s been a real idol for me, and a great friend to me throughout my career,” Walker said.

“He’s an inspiration for anyone.”

Cassidy won racing’s grand slam of the Melbourne Cup (twice), Caulfield Cup (twice), Cox Plate and Golden Slipper.

He rode Kiwi to his famous last-to-first Melbourne Cup win in 1983, and lead all the way on Might And Power to win his second Cup in 1997.

Cassidy rode in his final Melbourne Cup on Tuesday aboard Grand Marshal and rates seeing Michelle Payne win on Prince Of Penzance as one of the greatest things to happen in his 36 years in racing.

“It was probably one of the most touching moments of my life to see a lady rider come out and win one of our greatest races throughout the world.”

Cassidy chose to finish his riding career on Oaks Day, having won the VRC Oaks five times.

He is keeping his retirement plans to himself at the moment.

“I’ll be doing enough to keep busy, keep the mind occupied, keep the body going and be happy.”


Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au

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