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Veteran hoop Jim Cassidy is still confident in can bag a century of Group 1 winners despite his Epsom Handicap 2013 mount Riva De Lago drawing out wide for Saturday’s Royal Randwick major.
Cassidy stays in Sydney this weekend, primarily to stay on Chris Waller’s Golden Rose winner Zoustar for their next run in the $175,000 Group 2 Roman Consul Stakes (1200m).
He has also picked up another of other good rides on the Sydney card including Lucripetous in the $400,000 Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) and Encosta De Lago six-year-old Riva De Lago in the $500,000 Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m).
Last start winner by 2 ½ lengths in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1400m), Riva De Lago is one of three Waller-trained Epsom hopes this year.
His best fancied is last start Bill Ritchie Handicap winner Boban paying $5.50 as the second pick in Epsom Handicap odds led by the Guy Walter-trained Cameron Handicap winner Toydini ($4.80).
Boban is then joined by Waller’s Doncaster Mile champion from the autumn Sacred Falls ($12) and $17 chance Riva De Lago ($17).
Riva De Lago eased out in Epsom betting after they drew the widest gate in Wednesday’s draw, 17 of 17.
They are out to become the first Epsom Handicap winner to overcome the ‘visitor’s draw’ since Theseo in 2008.
But Cassidy remains confident that his mount can be competitive and perhaps even score an upset Epsom Handicap win on the weekend, the jockey having won the Golden Rose with Zoustar from the car park draw (16 of 16) only three weeks ago.
“There are plenty of Group 1 winners that come from wide barriers at the Randwick mile,” Cassidy told The Daily Telegraph.
“It’s just a matter of giving him a good ride. This is a different race and a different quality of horse.
“There’s no reason why I can’t (win).
“It’s a big run to the first corner (at Randwick) and he’s a backmarker which makes it a bit easier.”
Cassidy also believes that Riva De Lago has the class to step up to the mile here without concern, their longest distanced run to date producing a second in the Group 2 Ajax Stakes (1500m) in March.
“He’s got to step up to the big mile for the first time, but personally I don’t think it will be a problem,” Cassidy said.
“I think my horse will be around it on Saturday. I really do.
“He relaxes well, he’s pretty ‘push-button’, he’s a bit stronger and a bit older, and the form around him is good. He’s a terrific ride.”
As for the main dangers, Cassidy was wary of Waller’s dynamic duo and also rated the second favourite Boban as a serious contender.
“I think Guy Walter’s pair (Toydini and Streama), and Glyn Schofield’s ride (Boban) if he steps up, are the horses to beat,” he said.
“But in these miles there are always seven or eight good chances.”
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