Jockey Larry Cassidy remembers his ride on Aussie super horse Winx at Caloundra

October 30, 2017

The Courier-Mail by Robert Craddock.

IF YOU can’t pick up the ride on the best horse in the land it’s still nice to pick up her saddle.

Larry Cassidy did it this week. Not just any saddle mind you.

It was the one that launched Cox Plate favourite Winx towards the iconic stratosphere in which she now floats — alone — above the racing world.

Cassidy was the first man to know Winx was not just exceptional but a freakish four-legged force of nature.

He rode her to the first of her 21 successive wins, at Caloundra in the Sunshine Coast Guineas in May, 2015, when she won like Winx does — having all 16 rivals in front of her on straightening then zooming past as if fired from a slingshot.

The video almost has to be seen to be believed.

The electricity of the moment has never left Cassidy and just to make sure it never does he has had the saddle he rode that day mounted.

This week he picked it up and it will take pride of place at his home in Brisbane’s northern suburbs.

“I’ve only had one other saddle mounted. That was the one I used on Sunline in the 1999 Doncaster,” Cassidy said.

“I did not use that saddle again and got it mounted with a photo.”

The headline on Nathan Exelby’s race report in the The Courier-Mail the day she won at Caloundra said “Winx takes Larry Cassidy’s breath away” but when he regained it there was much to talk about.

“I rang my wife and said ‘she could be the best horse I have ever ridden’.

“She said ‘really’ and we started rattling off horses like Sunline, Golden Sword, Secret Savings and Not A Single Doubt which went through my mind. But I said I had never had a horse accelerate like that … ever.

“It is an incredible feeling, one every jockey craves for. To put it into perspective. I was probably 15 lengths off them when I came to the outside. I thought ‘I’m in trouble here … I probably can’t win but I won’t panic’.

“Yet when I pushed the button, still 10 to 12 lengths off them, I knew I was going to win.

“I was not on her next start in the Queensland Oaks. I knew mine was a one-off ride. I said to Hughie Bowman ‘she could be the best horse I have ridden’ and he said ‘what about Sunline?’

“I said ‘I know, but horses just can’t win like that’. I knew she had potential champion written all over her but I would never have thought she would have another 20 starts and not get beaten. No one could think that.”