He was then lucky to stay on St Covet’s Spirit when she clipped heels later in the program.
“I was travelling that well I thought it was going to win on the turn,” McDonald told stewards of St Covet’s Spirit. “I can’t believe I actually stayed on in the end.”
After riding at the Gosford Guineas meeting on Tuesday, McDonald will quarantine outside Sydney to ride at the Magic Millions meeting on January 16.
“It will be a good time to have a break, not that I want to, but everyone has to adjust because of COVID,” McDonald said.
“Just getting away for a couple of days, I think will set me up to be ready for the autumn, which will be here before we know it.”
Smith’s purple silks get the first of many winners
The purple silks of Derrick Smith, which So You Think wore to Royal Ascot success, made a winning start in Australia when Ranch Hand scored on debut at Warwick Farm on Wednesday.
Smith, along with John Magnier and Michael Tabor, forms the triumvirate behind Coolmore Stud and their colours have had success around the world. But it was the first time Smith’s silks were on an Australian-trained horse after the Coolmore group entered into a stallion fund with Chris Waller and some of his high-profile clients.
Waller’s syndicates traditionally use the silks of the shareholders and Smith’s were carried by Ranch Hand, a son of Fastnet Rock who may yet find his way to the Magic Millions Classic, on debut.
“He was very happy to see his colours winning in Australia and you’re going to see more of them,” Coolmore Australia boss Tom Magnier said.
It is an honour to have those colours in the stable and good to get a win with them.
For Waller it was a personal highlight and he is weighing up taking Ranch Hand to the Gold Coast.
“It is an honour to have those colours in the stable and good to get a win with them,” Waller said. “We might look at the Magic Millions with him, he is a nice colt with a good future.”
Waller has the favourite for January’s $2 million feature in Wyong Magic Millions winner She’s All Class after several contenders failed on the weekend.
Waller’s Breeders Plate winner Shaquero, who was Magic Millions favourite before Saturday, was the first horse beaten in the Bruce McLachlan Stakes won by Alpine Edge but he could still find his way north.
“She’s All Class will go straight to the Magic Millions but if Shaquero goes there he will have to have another run and it would be the same with Ranch Hand,” Waller said. “Horses that run the week before the Magic Millions have a very good record in the race.”
V’landys to change Kosciuszko rules to reflect the race’s spirit
Racing NSW boss Peter V’landys has flagged a change to the rules for The Kosciuszko after runner-up Redouble returned to a city stable after a sojourn in the bush.
“They didn’t break any rules but it is against the spirit of the race,” V’landys said. “We will be making sure it will not happen again.
“We want the race to be a showcase of the best country horses and trainers, so we will make that clear in the rules from next year.”
The review of the successful Sydney spring is under way and will look at ways of strengthening the program after two years in which it has been a boon for Racing NSW in terms of turnover and field sizes.
Baker hopes Malkovich can run out Gosford Guineas
Bjorn Baker believes the 1200m will be the biggest test for the speedy Malkovich in Tuesday’s Gosford Guineas.
The Warwick Farm trainer will watch on Sky as he is quarantining to be on the Gold Coast for next month’s Magic Millions Sale.
“We will be looking for another couple like him,” Baker said.
Malkovich is building an impressive record, winning three of his six starts including his return at Canterbury earlier in the month.
“He’s in really good order and it is the right time to try him at the 1200m. He has drawn perfectly and is very fast but holding that speed for 1200m will be a good test for him,” Baker said. “We had this race in mind for him when he came back and the Inglis race in February.”
Racing writer for The Sydney Morning Herald