If yesterday’s Group One clean sweep wasn’t enough, James McDonald has put the icing on the cake to a brilliant afternoon with a well-judged Doncaster Prelude victory aboard tough gelding Mister Sea Wolf.
McDonald earlier claimed the Vinery Stud Stakes aboard Verry Elleegant and added the Tancred Stakes on Avilius, a ride he picked up at the expense of Kerrin McEvoy who had a prior commitment to the unplaced Red Cardinal.
“I’ll take that,” McDonald said. “Hopefully I’ll continue it. It’s only going to get harder from here on in.”
McDonald just missed making it a four-timer when Zourkhan was narrowly beaten by his Chris Waller-trained stablemate Star Of The Seas in the final race.
The only sour note to McDonald’s day was a six-day suspension and A$1000 fine incurred for over-using the whip on Star Kingdom Stakes third placegetter Ardrossan. He begins the suspension immediately and will not miss a Saturday meeting, returning in time to ride on Doncaster Mile day.
Mister Sea Wolf was resuming off a summer carnival campaign in Perth and was specked from $11 into $8 before staving off the late challenge of stablemate Abdon by a head. It was a Waller trifecta with Tom Melbourne ($4.80) running third.
“I went a little bit early, but he was good enough to get away with it,” McDonald said. “He’s improved since last prep. He’s come back with great enthusiasm and a good will to win.”
The winner of the Doncaster Prelude earns an automatic start in next Saturday’s Group One mile, but Waller will resist the temptation to run Mister Sea Wolf and instead focus on the Brisbane winter carnival.
The trainer believes the Doncaster would be too tough second-up and says races like the Hollindale Cup will be more to the horse’s liking.
“Realistically, second-up after a heavy track run on a seven-day back-up is pretty hard,” Waller said.
Stewards, meanwhile, have adjourned an inquiry into Blake Shinn’s ride on Spring Charlie in the final race until they can speak to the horse’s trainer Kim Waugh.