O’Shea Enlists McDonald To Make Sydney Debut

By: Sarah Fortnum
July 1st, 2011

Top New Zealand apprentice jockey James McDonald will debut his skills in Sydney when he rides for trainer John O’Shea at Randwick next weekend.

The young jockey became the first New Zealander to ride 200 winners in a season earlier this week.

The 19-year-old was relieved to have attained the double century.

“It’s probably a relief more than anything because it’s been a long time coming,” McDonald said

O’Shea employed McDonald to ride three of his horses at Randwick after discovering that there was a shortage of senior jockeys available on the day.

“Tim Clark and Christian Reith will be on holidays, Corey Brown is suspended and Hugh Bowman is in England,” O’Shea said.

“So I’ve asked James to come over and have his first crack at Sydney.

“He will ride three for me – Vantage Point, Cantonese and Kiss ‘N Chase.”

Vantage Point was originally nominated for tomorrow’s N and A Fruit Group Handicap at Rosehill Gardens, however, a wide barrier led O’Shea to instead save her for next weekend’s race.

“She had drawn a little awkwardly and might end up having a hard run so we’ll wait,” O’Shea said.

Despite the absence of Vantage Point, O’Shea still has three runners participating in tomorrow’s Sydney program.

Fist Of Fury will attempt to break his losing streak when he runs in the Harris Farm Handicap.

The five-year-old gelding had a stellar first preparation, winning two races and finishing a close second in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes, but he has failed to win a race in his 15 starts since.

“I don’t think he is ever going to get back to where he was but what I will say is that he is going better than he was last preparation,” O’Shea said.

“He missed a trial two weeks ago when they were called off but he’s very well and is fit enough to run a race.”

The trainer will also saddle up Honest Lies and Romanus for a clash in the Sydney Bananas Wholesalers Handicap.

Romanus is poised to perform with a perfect gate, while Honest Lies will have to contend with disagreeable track conditions.

“I like that barrier draw (12) for Romanus because he has to go back and get some cover – that’s the way he likes to be ridden,” O’Shea said.

“Honest Lies is going particularly well and is building up to a performance but he doesn’t like wet tracks.

“The track conditions will determine how close he gets to them.”

The trainer is also currently working his promising two-year-olds Elite Falls and Foxwedge, who featured heavily in the Blue Diamond series, in time for the Melbourne spring.

“Foxwedge will barrier trial in two weeks then go to the San Domenico Stakes and Golden Rose,” O’Shea said.

“Elite Falls is about three weeks off a trial and she will go the conventional fillies’ path to the Flight Stakes.”

Sworn To Secrecy is another one of O’Shea’s horses who is being aimed at a big spring carnival campaign.

The three-year-old filly will be aimed at the Group 1 Myer Classic after suffering from recent injury.

“She had a little bone chip taken out of a joint but will be back in the latter part of spring,” O’Shea said.

“I still think we can get her to the Myer Classic, probably her third run back.”

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