J-Mac gets a leg-up in comeback

James McDonald makes his long-awaited return to competitive racing at Warwick Farm on Wednesday. Picture: Ian Currie
James McDonald makes his long-awaited return to competitive racing at Warwick Farm on Wednesday. Picture: Ian Currie

SYDNEY'S premier trainer Chris Waller has gifted champion jockey James McDonald four rides for his comeback at Warwick Farm on Wednesday.

McDonald has also gained rides from trainers John O'Shea and John Sargent for the midweek meeting which marks his return to saddle after serving an 18-month ban for having a $1000 bet on a horse he was riding.

The jockey's disqualification period was reduced to a suspension six weeks ago to enable the 26-year-old to ride trackwork and in barrier trials to ready himself for race riding.

McDonald has been doing plenty of trackwork riding for Waller at Rosehill in recent weeks and the trainer has rewarded him with the choice mount on fancied topweight Cormac in the opener, the TAB Handicap over 1400m.

Waller has also secured McDonald for Press Box (Pluck @ Vinery Handicap, 1400m), Stryke Rock (Ranvet Handicap, 1600m) and Monasterio (Flying Spur Mile, 1600m).

McDonald will ride the Sargent-trained Tinkermosa (#TheRaces Handicap, 2130m) and has been booked by the O'Shea stable for Kitteau (Tab.com.au Handicap, 1400m).

In a busy comeback week, McDonald also plans to ride at Kembla Grange on Thursday then return to Sydney Saturday racing at Rosehill Gardens.

There are a bumper 150 nominations for the Rosehill meeting including emerging stayer Roman Son in the Benchmark 85 Handicap (2000m).

Trainer Richard Freedman is using this race to test Roman Son's credentials for the Brisbane Cup next month.

 

 

Vega Magic is early favourite for the Goodwood. Picture: Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images
Vega Magic is early favourite for the Goodwood. Picture: Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Vega Magic is a dominant $2.50 favourite in early TAB Fixed Odds markets to become the first horse in more than 100 years to win successive Group 1 $1 million The Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville on Saturday.

The last horse to win successive Goodwoods was Musket Belle in 1911-12 but Vega Magic, a brilliant winner of Adelaide's feature sprint last year, is the one to beat again particularly after Shoals's trainer Anthony Freedman confirmed his star filly would not contest the race.

Freedman will rely on Santa Ana Lane, who shares $10 second favouritism for the Goodwood with Secret Agenda, Thronum, Viddora and Voodoo Lad.

The in-form Freedman stable is chasing a Group 1 double on Saturday with former Japanese galloper Ambitious early favourite at $4.40 for the $650,000 Doomben Cup (2000m).

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"The place was packed and it was a really good time,” he said.

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