Top jockey wins on four of five Saturday rides

By: Scott Mcglynn
12/05/2024
Horse Racing Betting Tips
Horse Racing News
Top jockey wins on four of five Saturday rides

It was a Saturday to remember for James McDonald as he announced plans to ride in Queensland on Saturdays through the carnival 

News Insights

  • McDonald had five rides at Sunshine Coast
  • Won on four of his mounts
  • Is McDonald the top jockey in the world now?
  • Had a second daughter this week

James McDonald has had quite a week with the birth of his second daughter Mia and then raining in the winners at Sunshine Coast on Saturday when he saluted on the first four of his five rides during the afternoon. 

While most parents with a newborn are struggling just to function, James McDonald went to the Sunshine Coast and hit the horse racing bookmakers with four winners on the afternoon. McDonald has been riding out of his skin this week with renewed vigour with five winners already heading into his huge afternoon on Saturday. 

Sunshine Coast proves a happy hunting ground 

With the main Group 1 racing coming from Morphettville where Jamie Kah rode the Goodwood winner on Benedetta, James McDonald made hay with a trip to the Sunshine Coast with Queensland looking forward to hosting the hoop every Saturday through the carnival there. 
 
1500 domestic winners will have to wait after Saturday’s four took McDonald to 1,499. The first of those came on Pereille in the opening Benchmark 85 handicap for James Cummings and Godolphin. The gelding appeared to relish the Heavy 10 conditions to salute by four lengths over 1200m. 
 
Winner two was a Listed 1400m contest on Thalassophile for Chris Waller. That ended a 14-month, 13-race losing run for the five-year-old mare who had finished second four times since she last saluted. 
 
Leg three of the four winners came atop Althoff, also for Waller, in the Group 3 Ken Russell Memorial Classic. The two-year-old was a $31 roughie on his debut at Rosehill at the end of April when second, quickly adding a win to his credit on the step up in class.  
 
The Gold Coast Guineas is also a Group 3 contest with McDonald back in the Godolphin blue for James Cummings on Corniche. The Skyline winner at Randwick in February 2023 had not managed to add to his career-winning tally until today. That was on soft so he is now 0/7 on good and 2/2 when soft or worse. Firestorm was the sole failure on the fay, finishing well down the field in the Gold Coast Bracelet. 

I Wish I Win remains McDonald’s ride 

It was announced this week that Luke Nolan would not get the ride back on the Waikato Stud star when he is seen next in the Doomben 10,000 which comes up next week. McDonald was drafted in for the T J Smith after Nolan announced that he would not be ready and at the request of the horse's owner, will retain the ride. 

Can any jockey in the world hold a candle to McDonald? 

It is not easy to compare jockeys from different jurisdictions as the riding styles are so different. Ryan Moore is the name mentioned the most in Europe as the best jockey there but he has his critics when he has ridden in Australia. Irad Ortiz is arguably the top jockey in North America but that is a very different style of track to those that are seen here or in Europe. 
 
McDonald has enjoyed a huge amount of success wherever he has gone in the world, most notably in Hong Kong in recent years, highlighted by his relationship with one of their top horses, Romantic Warrior whom McDonald won the Cox Plate on, in October. 
  
Stints in Europe have yielded 34 winners in England and two in Ireland for McDonald who has long been considered the best jockey in Australia with the 32-year-old very much at the peak of his powers in recent times.

A shame that winner 1,500 could not come as part of a perfect day but four winners from five rides was another excellent day for the top jockey. There should be plenty more winners to come all around the world for McDonald in 2024 as 100 Group 1 victories loom on the horizon. 

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