James McDonald has wasted no time reminding Sydney’s star apprentices who’s boss, guiding juvenile Caballus to a narrow but impressive win at his first Saturday ride back from an overseas break.
The midweek Canterbury meeting was McDonald’s first in the Harbour City since June 7, the champion hoop having spent time in Brisbane before heading to England for the Royal Ascot carnival and a European holiday.
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In his absence, junior riders Zac Lloyd and Dylan Gibbons have been stealing the limelight, but McDonald has served notice he is back in town with a pitch perfect effort on the Chris Waller-trained Caballus in the opening race at Randwick, the colt atoning for a luckless debut at Canterbury.
“It’s good to have James back,” Waller said.
“He did a great job there, put him into a beautiful spot, got him into a nice rhythm and just kept him rolling.
Didn’t take long before James McDonald showed the top apprentices who’s boss. Credit: RAS Newswire
“We just wanted to get his first win out of the way then join up where we can.
“He ran very well on debut, he just had no luck. I think the positive out of that is he had a good experience, and today he knew what he was here for.”
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By I Am Invincible, Caballus ($12) was a $1 million yearling and while he has taken time to mature, Waller says he has above-average ability.
He is yet to lock in plans for the rising three-year-old, but the Group 3 Up And Coming Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill on August 26 is a likely target.
The colt scored by a half-head over highly touted filly Estriella ($2.90 fav), who was game in defeat, with Lloyd’s mount Shaken ($3.30) three lengths away third, the winner recording a class record 1:03.25 for the 1100m.
Check out James McDonald’s full chat with Jason Richardson and Emma Freedman on 7plus. Credit: Channel 7
McDonald believes Caballus has all the hallmarks of being a smart three-year-old.
“He’s a cracking horse, a really good moving horse, good attitude so it will take him a long way,” McDonald said.
“It’s nice to knock off a nice, sharp two-year-old race with him and hopefully the three-year-old season is good to him.”
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