THE Albury Gold Cup’s most successful jockey of the modern era, Matthew Cahill, will ride in the $170,000 listed race on Friday with a 12-month suspension hanging over his head.
The Cowra-based rider, who has won the Albury cup three times since 1998, had an appeal against one of the most serious charges in racing dismissed last Friday.
But he can take the ride on Albury-trained cup hopeful Niblick on a stay of proceedings as his appeal against the severity of the sentence won’t be heard until next month.
Niblick is shaping as Albury trainer Brett Cavanough’s best chance to win the race.
Cavanough said he had no hesitation engaging Cahill.
“He doesn’t carry any luggage,” Cavanough said.
“He has got one of the best heads on a set of shoulders in the business.
“He is unflappable.”
Cahill rode four winners for Cavanough at the 2007 cup carnival.
He also won the City Handicap twice.
The jockey was suspended for one of the rare times in his 30-year riding career at Goulburn last June when stewards found he didn’t allow his mount, Astronomer, to run on its merits.
Astronomer was the $3.10 favourite and finished second.
But a bookmaker, Richard Knight, and a part-owner of the horse, Guy Orbell, were successful in having disqualifications relating to the race overturned by the same Racing NSW panel which dismissed the appeal made by Cahill.
Knight faced a six-month disqualification when stewards originally found him guilty of having “prior knowledge” that Astronomer would not race on its merits.
Betting records showed Knight laid Astronomer on Betfair to lose.
Stewards found Orbell guilty of being a party to Astronomer not being allowed to race on its merits and was also issued with a 12-month disqualification.
The stewards alleged the part-owner entered into an arrangement with Cahill for him not to allow Astronomer to race on its merits.
The appeal panel ruled “the stewards’ case against Guy Orbell is a circumstantial one”.
Orbell still has three appeals pending over the matter, including betting on Astronomer to lose the race on Betfair.
Cahill has been a regular at the Albury carnival for more than 20 years and his brother Michael was the former stable rider for the gold cup’s most successful trainer, Richard Freyer at Corowa.
One of Cahill’s gold cup wins was aboard the Freyer-trained Barrakee in 1998.
His other two winners were on Ekalaka (2002) and Prime Century (2005).
The only other jockeys to win the race more than once since the mid-1960s were Roy Higgins, Geoff Duryea and the late Alan Abrahams.