Cassidy: Yucatan has no barrier to Cup victory
TWO-TIME Melbourne Cup winner Jimmy Cassidy has told comeback kid James McDonald the barrier will not stop him winning Tuesday's great race and instead just be fixated on giving Yucatan a trouble-free run.
Growing up in New Zealand, McDonald always looked up to Cassidy and the now-retired "Pumper" has acted as a mentor to McDonald in a number of instances over the years.
Cassidy told McDonald not to be afraid to use the inside section of the track when he won the Golden Slipper on Mossfun after missing the start and earlier this year, offered him advice upon his return from an 18-month disqualification.
Cassidy told McDonald to change nothing when he returned.
"I told him if it's not broken don't fix it. You only fix it when it's broken," Cassidy said.
McDonald has quickly re-established himself in the top echelon of Australian jockeys and tomorrow gets another chance to win the Melbourne Cup on warm favourite Yucatan, two years after riding the favourite Hartnell into third.
After drawing barrier 23 on Saturday night, McDonald asked Cassidy his opinion of the barrier.
The answer was short and to the point.
"I said it's only a number mate," Cassidy said.
"Two things I never worried about in racing - the weather and barrier draws, because they were out of my control. Everything else was in my control. Weather and barriers, you just have to take what you're given.
"I said to 'J-Mac' just get into a rhythm, put him to sleep and worry about it 800m from home. That's all you've got to do."
Cassidy won Melbourne Cups on Kiwi (1983) and Might And Power (1997) and jumped from gate two both times.
He is thoroughly enjoying retirement, being a special guest speaker for the VRC this week, but said if he was still riding, Yucatan is the horse he would want to be on tomorrow.
"Can he reproduce it? He's got the right bloke who owns him (Lloyd Williams), training him (Aidan O'Brien), the right bloke on top. You always want a little bit of luck, a trouble-free run," Cassidy said.
"(McDonald) is riding for a man that's had every bit of success in the Cup. I'm sure Lloyd will go through it with him, but the biggest thing in any race is having a trouble-free run."
Cassidy said he is more than happy to act as a mentor to young riders if they seek his opinion, provided they have the right work ethic and attitude.
"I help them if they want to be helped. If they give me the wrong answer, I haven't got time," he said.
"No matter what you do in life, if you want to be good you've got to believe you will be good at it.
"You've got to sacrifice things and be dedicated, turn up, be reliable.
"In this game you've got to put your balls on the line. I did it all the time, if you're going to talk the talk, you've got to walk the walk."