CUP HOLDER: Respected jockey Michael Cahill with the Ipswich Cup he won for the first time last year. He's back for the big race on Saturday.
CUP HOLDER: Respected jockey Michael Cahill with the Ipswich Cup he won for the first time last year. He's back for the big race on Saturday. Rob Williams

Proven performer welcomes new racing era

HAVING ridden more than 2000 winners, Michael Cahill enjoyed one of his career highlights this time last year.

After more than a decade of attempts, he savoured victory in the $175,000 Ipswich Cup, aboard Victorian runner Self Sense.

However, being a regular jockey at Bundamba meetings, Cahill has an added reason to enjoy Saturday's latest Ipswich Cup Day.

Apart from his seven rides on the nine-race program, the experienced Queensland hoop will be part of the last Ipswich Cup meeting before the long-awaited $13 million redevelopment starts.

"I can't wait for those to come on board,'' Cahill said of the new facilities, which include modern jockey rooms.

"They (the old rooms) have got a bit antiquated now. They are a bit tired, the general facilities there.

"It will be good to see the new ones.''

However, Cahill has no issues with the Bundamba racing surface.

"The track is still pretty good. The track's still fine,'' said Cahill said, who has been a key supporter of Ipswich and especially Cup Day.

"It's always been a good track.''

Cahill, 53, won the Ipswich Jockeys Premiership during the 2012/13 season.

He started his riding career in 1980 in central NSW, coming to Queensland in 1996.

He rates winning the 2005 Stradbroke Handicap on St Basil as one of his favourite successes.

But he's been a popular rider at Ipswich for many years, winning the 1997 Eye Liner Stakes aboard Corregidor and three Gai Waterhouse Classics on his way to last year's first Ipswich Cup win.

"It's a unique type of day,'' Cahill said.

"Ipswich Cup Day is pretty well known for the big crowd they get there, the enthusiastic supporters. It's a good day's racing.''

Cahill is riding the Chris Waller-trained My Giulano in Saturday's $180,000 Ipswich Cup over the 2150m journey.

He had two wins on the five-year-old gelding in Brisbane late last year.

"He's a handy stayer,'' Cahill said. "He's in a good stable and he'll run the trip out.''

His mount in the $176,500 City of Ipswich Eye Liner Stakes (1350m) is New Zealand-bred five-year-old gelding Bassett.

Cahill rode Bassett to fifth over 1400m on his last start earlier this month at the Sunshine Coast.

Like My Giulano, Bassett is rated an each-way chance.

"He didn't like the distance but he's got a handy enough record in Melbourne,'' the jockey said.

Cahill is engaged to ride Magic Alibi in the Gai Waterhouse Classic, also over 1350m, in the final race of the day.

Before that, Cahill has other rides on Dapper One (race one), Realing (race two), Time Lord or Skytrek (the QT Cup Winter Provincial Stayers final), Enterprise March (the TL Cooney 3YO Handicap) and Trubia in the Class 6 Plate (race six).

Being a proven performer, Cahill is used to such busy race day programs.

"I try and treat every race the same,'' he said.

"I like to start early to see how the track is playing.''

Among his recent successes was riding Morendi to victory in the Toowoomba Cup.



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