High flying jockey James McDonald will be called upon for the second time in Rising Romance’s last two starts to use his skills to overcome a nightmare barrier draw when the Kiwi mare lines up in the Group 1 $1m Longines Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Rising Romance jumped from gate fourteen of eighteen in the Group 1 $3m Crown Golden Ale Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 18 but McDonald was able to find the fence before going down gallantly when second to high class Japanese stayer Admire Rakti.
Ruakaka trainer Donna Logan hopes that McDonald will be able to weave his same magic again when Rising Romance jumps from barrier eleven in the fourteen horse Mackinnon Stakes field.
“He’s the professional on top. He can make those decisions when the gates open,” Logan told AAP.
Logan decided against running the Australian Oaks winner in this this year’s Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m), preferring to give her an extra year to mature and instead freshened her up for the 2000m weight for age Mackinnon Stakes.
Rising Romance has come through her run in the Caulfield Cup in fine style and Logan has been happy with her progress since.
“I can’t fault her,” Logan said.
“Her work has been good. She has put on weight, she’s eaten everything, I think she’s still got enough sprint in her legs and she looks magnificent.”
Bookmakers also think that Rising Romance is looking good and installed her as the early favourite for the Mackinnon Stakes when acceptances were taken on Wednesday.
In the latest market order with Ladbrokes.com.au, Rising Romance has eased slightly to be on the second line of betting at $6 behind the $5.50 equal favourites He’s Your Man and Criterion.
Proven Group 1 performer Happy Trails is next in the betting at $7.50 ahead of Amralah at $9, Foreteller at $10, Farraaj at $12 and Brambles at $13.