Hawkspur dominant in Qld Derby

| June 8, 2013
Jim Cassidy triumphant on Hawkspur in Qld Derby

Jim Cassidy triumphant on Hawkspur in Qld Derby

Hawkspur completed a clean sweep of the Brisbane winter carnival triple crown for three-year-old stayers after adding the $500,000 Group One Queensland Derby at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

Beautifully ridden by Jim Cassidy, Hawkspur claimed the third and most significant triple crown leg, after earlier emphatic wins in the Rough Habit and Grand Prix.

Saving ground as his main dangers tried to work into the race with wide runs, Hawkspur joined the lead at the 400m and put the result beyond doubt soon after.

Cassidy had one, cheeky look behind before asking Hawkspur to extend with the gelding responding to easily beat Electric Fusion and Honorious.

Trainer Chris Waller heaped praise on fellow expatriate Kiwi Jim Cassidy after his Bo Derek ride to win the $500,000 Queensland Derby (2400 metres) on Hawkspur.

”It was yet another 10 out of 10 ride by Jim Cassidy,” the Sydney champion trainer said.

”In 35-odd years of riding, obviously Jim is in the twilight of his career, but I don’t think he would mind me saying this – if he was ever riding any better I haven’t seen it.”

When Cassidy returned to scale after winning his 98th group 1 and Waller’s eighth this season at racing’s elite level, the crowd gave Cassidy thunderous applause. ”He’s the new Glen Boss,” Waller quipped.

Waller admitted to having some concerns in running.

”At the 600m I thought he might have been in a bit of trouble,” he said. ”He was a bit slowly away and could have been spat out the back but Jimmy persisted to hold his position. To Jim and the horse’s credit they both got going at the right time.”

Starting the $4 equal favourite, Hawkspur sprinted from the pack inside the 300m, striding to a decisive 2¾-length win. Melbourne-trained Electric Fusion ($17) finished runner-up with a half neck to third placegetter Honorius ($7.50).

The other $4 equal favourite, Survived, was again ridden controversially and finished out of the money.

Waller is the top Sydney trainer and he gave an insight into some of the behind-the-scenes workings that make up a premier stable.

”Jim Cassidy has certainly helped my career right from the start,” he said. ”It’s jockeys like Jim that make my job so much easier. Not only with their riding but particularly in the feedback they give you.”

Waller admitted winning the Derby was ”a bonus”.

”His [Hawkspur] whole preparation has exceeded our expectations.

”Now we’ve got a group 1, we’ll sit back and enjoy it. We’re about winning prizemoney and the lead-up races is where you get it. The Derby is icing on the cake.

”When it comes to grand final day, you can have a bad draw, bad luck and things can go wrong. Today everything worked out perfectly.”

Despite Waller winning group 1 races across the eastern seaboard, Hawkspur, an unlikely hero, gave him his first derby win.

”It means a lot to me,” he added.

Hawkspur, which arrived in Queensland unheralded after a moderate Sydney autumn, took his record to six wins and six placings from 18 starts and earnings of $657,000.

Cassidy, who just missed winning another group 1 on the Waller-trained Zoustar, was asked when he was confident of winning.

”Last week. I said he was unbeatable,” ”the Pumper” replied.


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