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By Larry Cassidy | Friday, December 14, 2012

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.

For the majority of people out there the festive season is the source of some much needed downtime and a reason to celebrate with family and friends.

Racing people have to tame a different beast though. Generally speaking, the more holidays there are, the busier the racing industry is and thus, by implication, the harder its core participants are expected to work.

For example, take the upcoming period from December 26 until January 2.

On seven of those eight days race-meetings will be held in South-East Queensland … so for jockeys, trainers and their work staff ‘downtime’ will just be an illusion. As far as celebration is concerned, you can always find a place for that, and you really need to if you are family orientated, but , again, racing people have to finely measure their level of celebration if they going to fulfill their work responsibilities.

None of that is a complaint. We choose what we want to do, make the sacrifices and, if we are lucky enough, we get some reward for our hard work … but I’m just pointing out what is an absolute fact of life for those who collectively keep the racing industry going.

I take my hat off to you all!


In my twenty-seven years of riding I have probably been able to enjoy two Christmas’s without having to worry about any riding commitments.

One was last year when I was off after being injured in a fall. You really notice the difference when you don't have to worry about what you are putting on your plate. You can drink, perhaps more than you should. I certainly made the most of it and had a great day!

Every other Christmas has been a lot more low-key.
We do the presents with the kids in the morning. Then I usually put the sweat-gear on and go for a walk for an hour. Then we prepare for lunch. We usually have a Christmas lunch because that gives me time later in the day to get weight off.

Christmas evening I’m usually sitting in a hot bath having a sweat, preparing for the next day.

I guess there is half an option for some to indulge a bit more than usual and then just work harder to get the weight off.

I try not to do that. For me, if you wake up the next day and you are too heavy, it is just too hard, particularly if you cop a hot day. It will just knock you around too much and you certainly won’t be at your best.

I prefer just to have a small plate of veggies with maybe a little bit of meat and quite a few glasses of champagne … because champagne is easy to get rid of through the pores of your skin when you are sweating.

New Year ’s Eve there has to be the same sort of restraint if I’m riding the next day.

I haven’t seen many New Year’s in. I did have a couple of great New Year’s Eve parties when I was in Macau, because I didn’t have to ride the next day. Also, a couple of years ago I was suspended after Boxing Day so I could let down a bit that time.

I guess if you are going to miss any time through injury or suspension, the Festive Season is not a bad time to do it … although you do miss a couple of big races, which you never want to do. You would never choose to miss anything but there are worse times to be out of action.


After all these years my wife obviously understands my absence on race-days during the holiday period.

She knows if there is a meeting on and I am riding that I have to go and do that. It’s just part and parcel of the job … and the kids understand that too. You know, we can’t take holidays when most other people do. That situation has been our life.

When I get suspended though, they can have a week off school and we'll take a holiday then so at least they don’t lose out.

They all are very supportive of what I do and obviously I wouldn’t be able to go about my business in the manner I do if they weren’t one hundred percent behind me … so I’m very grateful for that.


So that is what a jockey’s Festive Season is like!

The bottom line is: no, we don’t take time off unless it is forced on us; no, we don’t get to let out hair down as much as we would probably like to … but the up-side is that the rewards are there if you keep your weight right and are lucky enough to come home with a few winners.

That would top off the holiday season very nicely!

Till next week,


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Larry Cassidy
Larry Cassidy
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