This year’s staying features in Melbourne have come around too soon for Western Symbol but champion jockey Jim Cassidy expects to see the promising stayer there this time next year.
The Gai Waterhouse-trained five-year-old showed his staying promise with a convincing all-the-way win over 2400 metres in Wednesday’s Coogee Handicap on the Kensington track at Randwick.
Western Symbol carries the same brown colours with white epaulettes as stablemate Descarado who won last year’s Caulfield Cup and returned to Melbourne with victory in last Saturday’s Group One Caulfield Stakes.
The same colours will also be sported by Brisbane Cup winner Tullamore’s jockey when he chases glory in Saturday’s Caulfield Cup.
Western Symbol ($2.25 fav), having just his ninth race start, was taken to the front by Cassidy and controlled the race from there, sprinting away in the straight to win by 3-1/2 lengths over Unchain My Heart.
“He’s a nice staying horse in the making, I really like him,” Cassidy said.
“Hopefully he’ll be in Melbourne with me this time next year.”
Western Symbol scored over 2200m at Warwick Farm two starts back before finding trouble at the same track last time out when second to Reprisal over 2200m.
Cassidy wasn’t going to make the same mistake again and elected to dominate the race from the front.
“I stuffed up last start by letting one come around me, trying to take a sit, and ended up in all sorts of trouble. Up to a mile and a half (2400m) today I knew he was the best horse in the race and rode him like it,” he said.
Waterhouse was in Melbourne overseeing the preparations of the stable’s spring hopefuls but stable representative Steve O’Halloran said Western Symbol was unlikely to be joining the team down south this year.
“He’s probably not seasoned enough yet,” O’Halloran said.
Cassidy, who bagged a winning treble at Rosehill last Saturday, continued his great form by bringing up a double on the Chris Waller-trained Done Nothin’ Wrong in the Royal Randwick on Youtube Handicap (1550m).
He almost finished the day with another treble but was denied in the final event aboard Oakfield Comet, with talented gelding Nextanix finishing over the top of the mare to win by a half-neck in the Randwick Betting Auditorium Handicap (1400m).
“He’s got a good future and it was just nice to see him do it today,” Nextanix’s trainer Kerry Parker said.