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By Larry Cassidy | Friday, July 15, 2011

Larry Cassidy currently has forty-two Group 1 successes behind his name. He is a multiple Premiership winning jockey having taken out three titles in Sydney and one in Brisbane. Larry’s View, the personal blog of this top class rider will appear on horseracingonly.com.au every Friday, workload permitting.

Like any other professional sportsman a jockey is subject to the natural cycle of highs and lows of form. The length of the sequence - be it good or bad - varies at different times, but the bottom line is that nobody is immune to a bad run.

Results have not been going my way lately. At the moment I think I might be about thirty rides without a winner in town. I’ve been riding for twenty-six years and it’s very rare that I go thirty rides in town without a winner. I can probably count the number of times that has happened on both my hands, so I’ve done pretty well. That’s a pretty good record.

But when results aren’t going well you have to manage that situation. You don’t look for excuses but you have to take a realistic stock of your current position and plan how you are going to move forward and what you can do to help turn things around … and you have to remember that not everything is in your hands.

Taking stock, for me, means I’ve had to acknowledge that I am really struggling with my weight at the moment. Whether it's the cold weather or whether it’s because I’m another year older … it is a struggle.

I’ve had to look at the fact that I’ve had two suspensions in recent times. I had a suspension where I missed the Stradbroke and six meetings after that. Then I rode for four meetings, and then I copped another seven or eight meeting suspension. That slows your momentum obviously. Not riding also doesn’t help me in terms of keeping my weight down.

Another big downside to being suspended is that other jockeys get on horses you have been riding. If they win on them, the chances are you lose those rides. It is an open market and everybody has the right to chase rides. It is very competitive out there.

So basically, if circumstances dictate, you can fall behind very quickly and almost have to start from scratch again. That’s sort of what I have to try to do at the moment.

It is a confidence game and when you go through tough times result-wise it can dent your confidence if you let it.

Jockeys have ups-and-downs. Trainers have ups-and-downs. I don’t really let that get to me and I really don’t think about in negative terms.

What I do, is I get home at the end of the day and have a look how I have ridden at that meeting. Even if I haven’t ridden a winner, most times I can say, geez I rode good today. Or maybe, yes I could have ridden that a bit better. It could have finished fifth or third or whatever.

I think if you are doing that and are happy that you are riding well enough than the lack of winners shouldn’t get to you at all.

I do think I’m riding well. I just don’t think I’m always riding the right horses.

When things are going well, or a rider is said to be in-form, he invariably is on the right horse. When you are on the right horse you can put it in the right spot and nine times out of ten things will work out … the gaps will open for you.

When you are on an ordinary horse, even if the gaps open you can’t take them. At the moment a lot of the horses I am riding … the gaps are going quicker than my horse is.

So, as I say, I think I am riding well. I just haven’t got the cattle underneath me at the moment.

I obviously do pick up criticism for some rides. That’s something else you have to deal with. I tend to push it aside for the most part, depending on who is handing it out. You just have to take that from where it comes.

Most of the criticism comes from punters. A lot of punters can’t read a race. A lot of punters have never been on a horse, so when a punter yells at me across the fence you take it with a grain of salt.

The cycle does turn. You’ve just got to keep turning up and putting in. You got to keep going around … and staying out of trouble … and your turn comes back.

All of a sudden you ride a 15-1 winner, because I suppose the punters stopped following you, and all of a sudden you are away again and back in the game.

My immediate goal in the next two weeks is to get my weight right before the new season starts and then hit the new season up and running.

What happens between now and the start of the season doesn’t worry me. I don’t want to go another twenty rides without a winner but, if I do, so be it.

My confidence is intact. I’m coming to the races. I’m doing my best … but these next two weeks are actually a part of a bigger plan which I hope will see me rock-hard fit and ready for battle for the new season, which I am really looking forward to.

Till next week,

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Larry Cassidy
Larry Cassidy
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