Hoop dreams: how to stay in the black this spring

Still got it: Jim Cassidy. Photo: Mick TsikasDuring the spring carnival millions of dollars will be wagered on the biggest races in the country, and the decisions by the jockeys on what to ride and how to ride their mounts will decide which horses salute.

While the horses change and trainers have their influence, the common thread in all group 1s is the men who ride them. Who is the best and why are they the best? Here’s Roots ‘n’ All’s rankings.Group 1

Glen Boss

No one is more outwardly confident than Boss. He has the ride on Melbourne Cup favourite Puissance De Lune and Rupert Clarke winner Rebel Dane. He rides light and will be highly sought by trainers and owners.

Hugh Bowman

Always in high demand and will ride in most of the major group 1s. Given the right horse, Bowman usually gets the job done. Should find some handy rides.

Jim Cassidy

On 99 group 1 wins in a great career. He has the rides on Zoustar and Hawkspur, which he has declared the Melbourne Cup winner. Might not get the opportunities, but is still highly effective.

Kerrin McEvoy

Should open his group 1 account for the year on Guelph in the Flight Stakes on Saturday and also has the ride on Doncaster winner Sacred Falls for Chris Waller in the Epsom, though being Darley’s No.1 can limit outside opportunities.

Craig Newitt

Already has two group 1s in his bag. Not the first name that comes to mind when big rides are on offer but can ride light, which is an advantage.

Nash Rawiller

A good chance of kicking off his tally for this season with Fiorente in the Turnbull. He has been at the top of his game for the past couple of years. Rides for Gai Waterhouse and when he doesn’t, Chris Waller is keen to put him on.

Michael Rodd

Should have the rides on Atlantic Jewel and Super Cool, which is right in the Caulfield Cup mix, as stable jockey for Mark Kavanagh. Only kicked home two group 1 winners last season but was placed in 19 of 39 top-level rides.

Craig Williams

Only had three group 1 winners last year but is always on the top of the list of trainers. He will have to decide what to ride, rather than taking the first offer that comes.Group 2

Tom Berry

Had a breakthrough season in 2012-13 and now must back it up. He has the backing of the Waterhouse yard and will have fond memories of this weekend last year when he won the Epsom-Metropolitan double on Fat Al and Glencadam Gold.

James McDonald

Champion Kiwi finding his way at the top level. His past five group 1 wins in Australia have been on It’s A Dundeel. He is one of the stars of the spring but McDonald needs to prove himself on other rides.

Luke Nolen

Nolen will always be known for his deeds in the salmon and black spots of Black Caviar. Stable rider for Peter Moody and will get his chances to shine during the carnival, although his team looks a little slim at the moment.

Damien Oliver

Controversy dogged Oliver last spring and eventually led to 10 months on the sidelines for placing a bet. He has come back focused but got a suspension on Friday night, so misses this weekend.

Glyn Schofield

The former South African has travelled the world riding and proven himself in many markets. He has a great book on Saturday with Boban in the Epsom and Moriarty in The Metropolitan.

Blake Shinn

Already a Melbourne Cup winner on Viewed, Shinn has worked hard to get back to the top level after a lengthy ban for betting. He won the George Main on Streama and rides equal Epsom favourite Toydini. Both are trained by Guy Walter, for who he does most of his riding.

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