McDonald To Invade Semi-Deserted Randwick

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James McDonald will make his debut at Royal Randwick this Saturday and his timing in coming across is just as good as his timing is on track.

The New Zealand based superstar will arrive at Sydney airport at a time where plenty of others are heading in the opposite direction.

In fact of the 10 highest rated riders in metro Sydney just three could be available this weekend.

Corey Brown, Tim Clark and Christian Reith will all begin their holidays this week.

They could be joined by premiership leader Nash Rawiller who will decide on a trip after fulfilling his commitments at Kensington on Wednesday.

They join Jim Cassidy who is already away as well as Hugh Bowman who has been riding in England since the start of June.

Josh Adams is suspended and Glyn Schofield will be in the same boat after he’s scrubbed out for 10 meetings, however that begins after Saturday’s card.

With a large number of top stables still keeping plenty on work there’s a real shortage of talent to spread around.

Not only does it give plenty of opportunities to the less acknowledged riders, it’s also a great time for people like McDonald to get some good rides on winning chances.

The kiwi’s main tasks will be for John O’Shea who has offered him three mounts.

He comes into it with plenty of confidence having just become the first person in history to ride 200 winners in a season back at home.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” McDonald said.

“I rode at Rosehill during the Autumn Carnival but I’ve never ridden at Randwick before. At this stage I’m probably going to fly over on Friday and I will definitely have a walk around the track before I ride there.”

His three O’Shea trained horses are Vantage Point, Cantonese and Kiss ‘N’ Chase, he also has one lined up for the Hawkes team in Dunrossil.

McDonald has a huge rap on him after his efforts this season which have started to make an impact in Australia as well.

He’s already an Aussie Group 1 Champion after winning the Queensland Oaks on Scarlett Lady during what was a very successful winter carnival.

He impressed plenty in Queensland where he’s had offers to ride fulltime and they’ve been joined by propositions from Sydney, Melbourne, Singapore and Hong Kong.

“It’s a good position to be in but I just have to make the right decision,” he said.

“At the moment, I’ve got no set plans. Hopefully I’ll go well in Sydney next weekend.”

Where ever he ends up he’ll still be an important one to follow as he’s set to be a big player in Melbourne during the spring when he once again partners Scarlett Lady, potentially all the way to a Melbourne Cup.

While the future is very promising he first needs to get through Randwick this Saturday and he won’t have everything his own way with the return of Damian Oliver.

Chris Waller attracted Oliver to Sydney two weeks ago in a very successful stint where they combined for three winners.

They did so well they’ve decided to do it again on Saturday and their partnership will extend to five of the eight races with Key West, Mikiyama, Velrosso, First Look and Savannah River.

Oliver will also pick up Whisperossa as a big chance for Darren Smith.

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