Back-to-back Inverell Shorts for Cassy’s Sister

The Troy O’Neile-trained Cassy’s Sister won the 2023 Inverell Shorts. Photo: Bradley photos.

Lightning struck twice at Inverell on Sunday, with Cassy’s Sister defending her crown in the time-honoured Inverell Shorts. 

The Tamworth mare, trained by Troy O’Neile and ridden by Serg Lisnyy, started a well-supported $3.20 favourite in the 1050m Open Handicap, and she proved too strong for a good field of sprinters, winning by 1.09 lengths from the Terry McCarthy-trained Star of Harada (Courtney Bellamy, $9.50), while finishing in third was the Mark Hatch-trained Fanaar (Adam Sewell, $21), 

The result was almost a carbon copy of her 2022 win, with the six-year-old able to take a sit a pair back on the inside before Lisnyy peeled wide on the turn and ran away with a strong victory. 

“She won really well,” O’Neile said. 

“She can lead and have a sustained hard run if she needs to but if something wants to cover her up, she can take a sit and stay relaxed before showing that good turn of foot.”

While there isn’t much of her, Cassy’s Sister keeps performing for connections, with the Excelebration mare starting 43 times for 6 wins and 15 minor placings, earning nearly $240,000 of prizemoney in the process.  

“As far as country horses go, it’s hard for them to win that level of prizemoney and she is only tiny; only a little pocket pony really, but she has a big heart and tries every time she goes around,” O’Neile said. 

Boasting a good record, and the fact that her dam Crystal Jewel has produced other winners such as Miss Casier and Lord Tony, Cassy’s Sister will eventually head to the breeding barn, but O’Neile isn’t sure when that decision will be made. 

“She has at least the rest of this season,” O’Neile said. 

“Being a little horse that tries 110% each run, she is not a horse that looks after herself, and she is not one to hide away but hopefully she can sustain it and we can get a couple more preps out of her before she goes away to be bred with.”

For the moment, the talented little mare will enjoy a short let-up as connections plan her next target. 

“She is going to the paddock for a couple of weeks. She is a few runs in and we will check out what we are going to do with her,” O’Neile said.

“Ideally, I’d like to head back to the provincials and see what we can win there.”

Cassy’s Sister’s second win in the Inverell Shorts adds to what is an impressive collection of trophies for O’Neile, with the Tamworth trainer winning the 2019 Inverell Cup with Try ‘N’ Run A Muck and the 2021 Armidale Cup with Beckford, which are among other good results. 

“It’s a good start to the season and it was good to see her go back-to-back,” O’Neile said. 

“I love going to those sorts of races and we have won the (Inverell) Cup a couple of times and now the Shorts a couple of times. 

“We have been pretty fortunate to win the Armidale Cup, Walcha cup, the Gunnedah Lightning a couple of times, and I think she can go on and win a couple more races like that and a Gunnedah Lightning isn’t beyond her.” 

In a big day of results at Inverell Jockey Club, the Inverell Cup was won for a second year in a row by Wayne Oakenfull, with Zaidin (Ben Looker, $4) just getting home to win by 0.03 of a length from the Stirling Osland-trained Buffet Buster (Mikayla Weir, $3.70), while in third and 1.22 lengths away was the Ross Stitt-trained Casirina (Brooke Stower, $13). 

For results click here