James McDonald rides Cormac to victory in Race 1 at Warwick Farm. Picture: Brett Costello
James McDonald rides Cormac to victory in Race 1 at Warwick Farm. Picture: Brett Costello

J-Mac bounces back into winners’ circle

STAR jockey James McDonald returned from an 18-month suspension in the best possible fashion at Warwick Farm on Wednesday by taking out the first race on Cormac.

But he was made to work for it as Kerrin McEvoy, on Smiling Manolito, pushed him all the way before McDonald pushed over the line to win by a head on the Chris Waller-trained runner.

McDonald, who served an 18-month suspension for illegally placing $1000 on horse he was riding in a race, admitted he had butterflies in his stomach all morning leading up to the first race.

His family flew over from New Zealand to watch him ride in his first competitive race since November 5, 2016.

"I got to the track reasonably early and I was very nervous," he said.

"It was good to get a win early and for a Hall of Famer trainer, too.

"Hopefully this is the start of bigger and better things and this is a good starting point. It's nice to get that one over and done with. It was good to get out there."

In a further boost for McDonald, he has been booked to ride Care To Think in the Group 1 Kingsford Smith Cup at Doomben on Saturday week.

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