James McDonald has been a star in New Zealand for some time now but it’s only been during the Brisbane Winter Carnival that Australia has started to get a proper look at just how good he is.
His effectiveness as a jockey has been highlighted once again back across the ditch when he rode his 197th winner of the season.
That equals the current New Zealand record held by Lisa Cropp and practically ensures he’ll hit the magical 200 barrier.
The record equalling ride came yesterday at Matamata for John Sargent aboard La Tourneau.
He actually had two golden chances to set his own mark later in the day but he finished second in both races.
His next opportunity to break into the 200’s will come on Friday when he races at Pukekohe.
He would likely already have reached that mark had he not been riding stints in Queensland at the same time.
It’s been a successful journey for him though as he partnered Scarlett Lady to their first Australian Group win in The Doomben Roses and then their maiden Group 1 in the Queensland Oaks.
McDonald is naturally excited about the special place in history that awaits him after his next win.
“I’m looking forward to getting that next win. It will be a milestone I’ll never forget,” he said.
It would be good for him to get the monkey off his back in New Zealand on Friday so he can completely focus on his major rides back at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
McDonald has four rides on the card including Atom Cat in the Listed Strawberry Road Handicap, Dowager Queen in the Group 1 TJ Smith, Leading in the Group 1 Queensland Derby and Tigress Lily in the Group 2 Queensland Guineas.