Godolphin’s number one Australian jockey James McDonald expects his Queensland Oaks mount Rustic Melody to be right in the finish of the Group 1 classic for the fillies at Doomben on Saturday.
McDonald will be having his first ride on the Kris Lees trained filly in the Group 1 $500,000 Treasury Casino & Hotel Queensland Oaks (2200m) this weekend and is giving her a great chance.
Rustic Melody had some solid form during the Sydney Autumn Carnival against the fillies with a second to Candelara in the Group 3 $200,000 TAB Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 6 followed by a fourth to Gust Of Wind in the Group 1 $1m Seven News Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick on April 11.
McDonald thinks that the Snitzel filly is ready to step back up to the 2200m on Saturday after running second to High Midnight over 1900m in a BenchMark 75 Handicap at Rosehill on May 9.
That form line has some strength with High Midnight winning again last weekend in a 2000m BenchMark 73 Handicap at Randwick.
“She was second in the Adrian Knox and fourth in the Oaks in Sydney, so she is a very good stayer,” McDonald told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“She spilt High Midnight and Redoutable Heart over 1900 metres last start, which looks good form after the weekend and I think she will be there at the end of the 2200m.”
McDonald was in action at the Brisbane Winter Carnival last weekend at Doomben and was amongst the winners when he steered the Goulburn trained Faust to an all the way win in the Group 3 $125,000 Channel 7 Premier’s Cup (2020m).
The Sydney based Kiwi jockey will ride at Doomben on Saturday and again the following week on Stradbroke Handicap Day before heading off to England to ride for Godolphin during their summer months.
McDonald is virtually giving up his chances of retaining his Sydney jockey’s premiership with his decision to head overseas but is happy to fulfil his commitment to one of the largest racing empire’s in the world.
“I really wanted to get to one hundred wins in Sydney this season and it looks like I could have done it, but this is the reason I took the role at Godolphin,” McDonald said.
“This is a great opportunity and one I have dreamt of.
“I’m really looking forward to riding over there and I have good friend in Charles Hills that Godolphin has allowed me to take rides from. He has about one hundred and sixty (horses) in work, so I’m going to get my share of rides.
“I get to ride Royal Ascot, the July meeting at Newmarket and (Glorious) Goodwood, which is unreal.”
McDonald is currently on eighty-five and half wins in the Sydney jockey’s premiership table and will leave Hugh Bowman, eighty wins, and Blake Shinn, seventy-seven and a half, to fight out the 2014 – 2015 jockey’s title.
Rustic Melody is rated as a $15 chance for the Queensland Oaks in an early market order with Ladbrokes.com.au.
The Chris Waller trained Winx heads the betting at $2.45 ahead of Gai Waterhouse’s filly Bohemian Lily at $5.50 with Sydney filly Sebrina at $7, Ballet Suite at $8 and Ungrateful Ellen at $10.