Retired jockey Jim Cassidy hits the jackpot with his first bet as a free man

Sep 26, 2016 | Events | 0 comments

Jim Cassidy’s first day of retirement at the track ended in a win and a better payday than many he enjoyed as a jockey, after hitting the jackpot in the final race at Rosehill on Saturday.

Cassidy entertained family and friends in a farewell function and as they went in for the last race he got up on a chair and told the crowd “hey everyone go and back the nine here [the Chris Waller-trained Cauthen’s Power].”

As Cauthen’s Power rolled to victory Cassidy roared with delight and he rode it as hard as anything he had done in the saddle as it was his first bet as “a free man”. He turned a modest wager into a very handsome dividend. And ironically enough, the race was his namesake, The ATC Farewells Jim Cassidy Handicap.

Jockeys are not allowed to bet under the rules and Cassidy was a novice as he walked to the TAB operator.

“I hadn’t had to do it before, so when I went up to put the bet on I had to ask someone what to do,” Cassidy said. “I had a first four with the winner to stand out from five other horses. Each of them had a meaning to me because of a name or something, and the one that ran fourth was number 10, which is [daughter] Piper’s age.

“Gee it was a buzz, now I know what the punters felt like when they were cheering one home I was on.”

The collect for Cassidy was more than what he got in a riding percentage for his final group 1 win on Grand Marshal in the Sydney Cup earlier in the year.

The money has been quickly tucked away by Cassidy. “It was luck, so you want to make the most of it and we have it spent already. It is not something that is going to happen everyday,” Cassidy said. “It was a great way to finish the day.”

The Hall of Fame jockey’s popularity among his peers and punters was clear through the afternoon and the crowd for the meeting was up nearly 40 per cent to farewell “Pumper”.

“It was a bit funny having a sweat in the morning and going to the races without my riding gear,” Cassidy said. “It was a great day with all the kids in the function and people in the public. It was beautiful to see everyone.

“The boys came out and gave me a send off as well and it is something I will always remember.”

Written by Chris Roots – Sydney Morning Herald