The Wolf sits down for his weekly chat over the spring with Hall Of Fame jockey Jimmy ‘The Pumper’ Cassidy talking all things horse racing. If you’ve got a question, send a tweet to @WillHillAus with the hashtag #AskPumper.
The Wolf: How do you rate Grand Marshall’s chances in the Caulfield Cup?
Jimmy: His prep has been terrific. He has carried weight-for-age his three runs back – he is back to handicap and up to a distance that suits him. He has been Melbourne way of going so no drama there. I don’t think Caulfield is going to be a disadvantage to him. Ticking all of the boxes. Really happy with him.
He looks nicely weighted with 53.5kg…
That’s the big thing and he’ll notice that having carried up near 60kg. His sectionals have been good at 2000m. In his earlier days he could get away with 2000m. He’ll only start getting warm now up to a mile and a half.
Who do you rate as the main dangers?
The internationals are classy enough to win this race. Ollie’s horse Snow Sky is nicely drawn and Ollie on board is always a big plus. Craig Williams is talking up his horse (Hokko Brave). Murray Baker knows how to get them right on the day and Mongolian Khan has had a good prep. He deserves to be favourite. Rising Romance was runner-up last year and is nicely weighted, going well. Damien Lane riding well. There’s probably four or five good competitive chances without knowing how the internationals are going to perform, which we say every year. But deep down in my heart I wouldn’t swap my bloke for anything. If he has the right run and has a little bit of luck I think he is going to run terrific.
How are you going to ride Grand Marshall? (Via @trevorhendy)
Pace is going to be a big thing. In my favour is that I’ve drawn a nice alley which gives me options. If they go slow I can be closer. I just don’t want to put him out of his comfort zone. I’m looking towards Melbourne Cup obviously so the main thing is to get him into a nice rhythm and given him a trouble-free run. If I could be sixth to tenth I’d be very happy.
Which of Might And Power’s wins do you rate his best – Caulfield Cup domination?
Probably his Melbourne Cup win because he went up 4kg from the Caulfield Cup, he wasn’t a true two miler. he won it on sheer class, a will to win and being every bit a champion. To lead all of the way in the Melbourne Cup is nearly impossible. We were able to do that. He showed so much courage and fight to win that day. That’s why he is a champion.
What are you expecting from Sadler’s Lake out to 2000m?
I expect him to be very competitive. He’s a lot more mature now than he was at three in Brisbane. 2000m is a nice distance for him. I’m told he’s done well since the Epsom in Melbourne.
What next for Strawberry Boy after the Toorak?
Crystal Mile. I just hope he draws a nice barrier so he doesn’t have to use two lengths early to cross. I’d like to be able to say that at the Valley, if he was the same Rupert Clarke day, he’ll take a lot of beating.
How do you still mix it with the young guns? (Via @hooter_millward)
Self belief. If I don’t believe it, why be there?
You are riding as well as ever Jim…
People say that but you’ve got to have the rides. What’s going to make me stop is quality not quantity. While I am still part of these big days, be there. I’m fit. I’m healthy. Attack.