In demand jockey James McDonald has been snapped up by trainer Mike Moroney to ride Divissima in the NZ$1m NZB Karaka Million (1200m) at Ellerslie in New Zealand on January 26.
McDonald has made a name for himself since setting up base in Sydney last year and is riding with success for several of the top Sydney stables.
The Kiwi jockey teamed up with Gai Waterhouse last Saturday to win the Gold Coast $1m Magic Millions 3yo Guineas (1400m) at the Gold Coast on Sweet Idea while his greatest supporter John O’Shea is keen to have him in the Darley team when the Randwick trainer takes up duties as Darley head trainer in May.
Moroney and co- trainer Chad Ormsby have given Divissima one run with the Mastercraftsman filly scoring an impressive two and three quarter lengths win over 1150m at Paeroa on January 9.
Jockey Rory Hutchings was able to sit outside of the leader and in the straight let Divissima stride away to score a commanding win.
“She’s got a lot of raw ability and when she learns more she’ll be a serious racehorse,” Hutchings said.
Paul Moroney purchased Divissima for NZ$80,000 at the 2013 Karaka Premier Sales and was also very captivated by the performance, saying it was one of the most impressive debut wins by a two year in New Zealand he had witnessed for a long time.
“It was the best performance by a 2yo on debut in NZ since Happyanunoit beat So Casual and Danske at Awapuni in 1997,” Paul Moroney said.
Other Australian based riders to join McDonald on Karaka Million day are Tommy Berry, who will be on the Shaune Ritchie trained Way In, a winner of two races, and Noel Callow who will be on Dragon Lair for Matamata trainer Danica Guy.
“We’re flying Tommy over and with his record with two-year-olds in Australia and in Hong Kong proves that he’s up with the best riders in the world,” Ritchie said.
“Danielle (Johnson) rode the filly superbly last time and we haven’t had any long-term jockey so we felt it was an opportunity to put an Australian jockey on and no doubt we’ll use Danielle in the future.”