James McDonald hasn’t quite traded in his kiwi passport for the Australian coat of arms but his involvement in stakes racing over here is only going to increase.
He’s become a feature of recent Sydney meetings and his relationship with the John O’Shea stable continues to go from strength to strength.
He’s still in the country after riding at Warwick Farm on Saturday with an important ride before heading back home to rekindle a dominant partnership.
McDonald will ride Scarlett Lady in her first run of the new season in the $NZ200,000 Challenge Stakes over 1400m.
H’s hoping to get her off to a good start ahead of a campaign likely to include the Caulfield Cup and potentially even the Melbourne Cup.
Before that though he has to get through a Tuesday engagement on the Trent Busuttin trained Sangster in his debut Aussie run.
Sangster is a New Zealand bred three year old with ambitions of spring carnival glory with plenty of expectations going into his first up start.
He’s likely to be another regular ride for McDonald throughout the spring and could well deliver him more Aussie group glory.
He got a taste for the horse on Saturday morning when he rode him in a track gallop after Sangster arrived in Australia last week.
He’s only had the two career starts, one a devastating 6.5 lengths annihilation of the field on debut, the other a disappointing flop at Listed level.
He’s been freshened form then though and McDonald partnered him in a trial earlier in August and he was back in form with an easy victory.
Busuttin may not be a household name in Australia just yet but he’s confident Sangster can change that when he wins him the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes at Randwick in October, assuming he gets through tomorrow that is.
“He’s done well and we should get a line on Tuesday as to whether he’s good enough to be over here or not,’ Busuttin said.
“It looks like quite a nice field so we should be able to gauge where he’s at.
“He can go on to the Ming Dynasty and Spring Champion Stakes if he’s good enough.
“”We’ve got him in the Caulfield Guineas as well and we’ll also put him in the Victoria Derby if he proves he’s good enough.”
McDonald won’t have to wait that long to get his chance at Group 1 glory though with a call up for the $1 million Golden Rose in a fortnights time.
The regular rider of Foxwedge Nash Rawiller is suspended leaving an opportunity for a top flight call up on behalf of the O’Shea team.
Foxwedge was a dominant winner in his first up run but will need to overcome the returning superstars Smart Missile and Helmet.