James McDonald’s injuries sustained in fall last week worse than were first feared

By:
Scott Mcglynn
06/09/2023
Horse Racing Betting Tips
Horse Racing News
James McDonald’s injuries sustained in fall last week worse than were first feared

Jockey James McDonald announced on Tuesday that he will miss longer than was anticipated after a Wyong fall last Friday.

News Insights

  • Fall last Friday at Wyong
  • Razors deposited McDonald leaving the barriers
  • McDonald rode two winners the next day
  • Subsequent scans require a month off

Leaving the 1300m barriers at Wyong last Friday, James McDonald found himself on the turf after Razors unshipped him. McDonald took a while to get to his feet, and despite riding the next day, his injuries have been diagnosed as worse than first thought. 

At 31 years old, James McDonald is at the peak of his career. With a strong book of expected rides all spring, the Wyong accident could not have happened at a worse time for the jockey. The incident came on a Godolphin-owned horse, an owner whom McDonald has had plenty of success for and was expected to have success last Friday.

Razors at Wyong

Just a couple of strides into a 1300m race last Friday afternoon, McDonald parted company with the red-hot $1.70 favourite Razors at Wyong. The runner had been well-backed with all horse racing bookmakers and was expected to salute in the Bm 64 handicap.

Pain in his shoulder and foot saw McDonald on the turf for a long time before he made it to his feet and walked away under his own power. Although punters had their fingers burnt, they would have been happy to see one of the biggest stars of the sport walking away from the incident without help.

Success at Randwick on Saturday

Having been passed fit to ride at Randwick on Saturday, McDonald wasted no time getting back to winning form, saluting on two of his five rides on the day. The first was on Waverider Buoy for Chris Waller and then aboard Garza Blanca for Ciaron Maher. 

Both were typically patient rides from McDonald, sitting in the midfield before judging his run to perfection, with the Waverider Buoy being particularly well-timed to get the horse's nose in front right on the line.

The disappointment on the day for McDonald would have been the flat run from sprinting star Nature Strip, who was subsequently retired by Waller in a press conference following the Group 3 Concorde Stakes. 

Although McDonald was able to deal with the pain to get through his rides on Saturday, he has not taken a mount since that afternoon ahead of his announcement that he would have to spend some time on the sidelines.

A month on the sidelines

In a tweet on Tuesday afternoon, McDonald announced, "I've since had more scans that have unfortunately revealed the injury was more severe than first thought. Doctors have advised me that I need to take the next month off riding to recover." He then said he hopes to return for the remainder of the spring.

Injuries are common in all sports, and it reminds us of the risks that jockeys take every day on the track. What looked like a relatively innocuous fall on Friday turned out to be anything but. 

Nothing in the announcement has specified just what the injuries are that will keep McDonald out - those are expected to be made public in due course. We now know that punters will be denied seeing the champion jockey in action.

McDonald will be desperate for this injury to only be a month, with Romantic Warrior pencilled in for the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington on October 7. He will not want to miss the ride on the Hong Kong star, one of the spring's most hotly anticipated runners.  

The small consolation for McDonald is that at least the injury has happened early enough in the spring for him to be back in time for The Everest and the big cup races later on. It will make him hungrier than ever to get back to what he does best - saluting on winners.