05122015. Sydney Races. Jockey James McDonald rides Felines to win race 7, The Swim Between The Flags Handicap, during Sydney racing at Royal Randwick Racecourse. photos:bradleyphotos南京夜网419论坛 Photo: Bradley PhotosSWIM BETWEEN THE FLAGS HANDICAP
Kris Lees and James McDonald may have the Hong Kong Cup at the front of their minds for differing reasons, but the pair combined to help Sydney’s leading jockey to a seemingly standard four-timer at Randwick on Saturday.
McDonald bagged the last of his quartet on Lees’ smart mare Felines and will now turn his attention to the International Jockeys Challenge at Happy Valley on Wednesday night before partnering Japan’s Satono Aladdin in the Hong Kong Cup next Sunday.
Lees will also fly out for the Asian racing mecca on Monday to put the finishing touches on invitee Lucia Valentina for the Hong Kong Cup. Damien Oliver will ride her.
McDonald’s post-spring schedule shows no signs of slowing down with Godolphin to whisk him back to Sydney to ride It’s Somewhat in the group 2 Villiers Stakes next Saturday in between his Hong Kong engagements.
“I have never been so fit in my life and I’m really enjoying it,” McDonald said after bagging earlier wins on Astern, Medcaut and Fitou for the Godolphin blue.
“It’s the only reason that has kept me going [post spring], otherwise I would have had a little break. That’s why I’ve been riding so well and getting on these good horses.”
Felines may never find herself a contender for an international crusade, but Lees has certainly worked wonders with Gerry Harvey’s mare and she never looked in any doubt after McDonald peeled to the centre of the track.
Felines cruised to a one-and-a-quarter length win from Mahican with a speedy Quartzite a neck further back in third.
“She just got exposed a little earlier than I was hoping for being first-up, but she is quite effective fresh,” Lees said. “She’s got a really good turn of foot when she is held up and goes bang.
“If you look back at her form she was home and a thing called Winx got up and beat her on the line. I ran her the next week and she ran off the track and Shooting To Win got up and beat her.
“She ran off the track with young Taylor Marshall on and it was my fault for putting an apprentice on that day and she got a few bad habits out of it and it took a little while to get back on track.”
The day ended with a careless riding suspension for McDonald after he tried to force a run at the top of the straight on Duca Valentinois giving Makeadane a significant bump in the Choose Segenhoe Handicap.
McDonald pleaded guilty to careless riding and was given a fiv- meeting suspension. It will start after he rides at the Hong Kong International meeting on Sunday and end on December 27.
“You tried to force a run where there was no sniff of run,” chief steward Ray Murrihy told McDonald.
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