Jim Cassidy atoned for a couple of luckless rides aboard the Clarry Conners-trained Dear Demi to guide the filly to a resounding victory in the Victoria Oaks at Flemington.
Owned by millionaire adman John Singleton, Dear Demi came from well back to storm down the outside and overhaul favourite Zydeco in Thursday’s 2500m staying feature.
The lightly-raced Summerbliss was a game third.
Conners, who decided to set Dear Demi for the Oaks six months ago, was thrilled to come away with the major prize.
“She just keeps trying and it was a very gutsy win today,” Conners said.
“She’s a lovely filly. Seven starts this prep and she just keeps getting better.”
It was Cassidy’s fifth win in the Oaks but Singleton revealed the big race hoop almost lost the plum mount after striking trouble aboard Dear Demi in two lead-up runs and being unluckily beaten in both.
Singleton had been prepared to sack Cassidy and give the ride to Nash Rawiller but when Rawiller was suspended, Cassidy was given another chance.
“I said `just give her a start mate. Clarry and the horse have done everything else. Just steer for Christ’s sake. You’re only on her because Nash is suspended. Let that be clear’,” Singleton said.
Cassidy didn’t let him down and Dear Demi did the rest to post a memorable Oaks win.