Veteran hoop Jim Cassidy is confident in the ability of to-be-retired mare Steps In Time for the closing Group 1 of the season following a successful trial aboard the 2014 Tattersall’s Tiara-bound champ.
Cassidy is set to enjoy an extended holiday after the closing Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival elite level, Saturday’s $500,000 Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) at Eagle Farm.
There he will partner with Joe Pride’s $1 million earner Steps In Time who will be sent to the breeding barn after her run on the weekend.
“I will go up to ride Steps In Time next week then probably have a bit of a holiday after that,” Cassidy, 51, told The Daily Telegraph on the weekend.
“I’m not sure exactly when I will return to the saddle, it might not be until mid-August but I will be back for the spring.”
Danehill Dancer six-year-old Steps In Time contests the fillies-and-mares’ classic for the third time, Cassidy confident this year she can go out a winner and hand him his fifth Group 1 on the season.
His earlier Group 1 trophies were thanks to winning rides aboard Zoustar (Golden Rose, Coolmore Stud Stakes), Dissident (Randwick Guineas) and the mare he rides on the weekend with Steps In Time winning the Coolmore Classic earlier in the year.
Her first effort in the Tattersall’s Tiara was a disappointing 12th to Yosei in the 2011 edition when prepared by her former trainer John O’Shea.
After a year off she returned in 2013, still under O’Shea’s guidance, but was well beaten again this time crossing 13th to the Chris Waller-trained Red Tracer.
While the race then has proved a hoodoo for Steps In Time, she’s since won a Group 1 of her own having been transferred to Pride at the start of the year.
For her new trainer she stepped out for the first time on February 15 to run a short half-head away second to Catkins in the Group 2 Breeders Classic (1200m).
Stepped up in distance then next run she was the all-the-way winner of the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill in March holding on to beat Sweet Idea despite tiring late.
Her last start though it back to near last.
At Randwick on April 12 she went back from 1500m to 1200m in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes where she failed to handle a Heavy (9) track.
She beat home just two rivals when 13th to Lankan Rupee but pulled up from the run well, the wet conditions to blame for her loss.
Pride then is hoping for a dry track at Eagle Farm for the Tattersall’s Tiara this weekend when Steps In Time has her swansong run before retirement.
She showed she was spot on for the assignment too last Friday winning an 800m barrier trial at Warwick Farm by a big six lengths, an effort that had Cassidy smiling from ear-to-ear.
“She ‘trucked’ around, her trial was very good,” Cassidy said.
“I must say she probably trialled every bit as good as she did prior to going into the Coolmore Classic.
“She trialled like I expected her to and I wanted her to do that going into a Group 1 race.’’
It’s shaping up as a top edition of the Tattersall’s Tiara though so Steps In Time will need to be at her best.
Among the expected headliners is impressive Melbourne raider Lonhspresso, Darren Weir’s Lonhro mare flying into Brisbane today.
Ben Melham is booked for the ride on the four-year-old having been aboard for her last start second to Don’t Get Excited in the Golden Topaz on June 6 at Swan Hill.
While Pride needs firmer ground for Steps In Time, rival trainer Les Bridge will be hoping for rain for his Tatt’s Tiara contender Avoid Lightning.
She comes off two wins over the boys in Sydney carrying big weights, most recently 59kg in the Listed June Stakes (1100m) on June 7 on a Heavy (8) track.
The reigning Tattersall’s Tiara winner Red Tracer is also expected to defend her title as one of three in the race for Chris Waller along with Catkins and She’s Clean.
Other notable hopes expected to feature in the capacity Tattersall’s Tiara field this year are then New Zealand Group 1 winner (1000 Guineas) Costa Viva and Gai Waterhouse’s Robert Sangster Stakes champ in Adelaide Driefontein who ran second to stable mate Cosmic Endeavour in the Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes (1400m) last start.
Stay tuned to Races.com.au to view the 2014 Tattersall’s Tiara nominations to be released shortly.
Then head over to Ladbrokes.com.au and open your account with the country’s leading online bookie before the weekend to enjoy a bonus welcome bet valued up to $250!