McDonald returns to Kembla

BACK: Jockey James McDonald made his return from a lengthy suspension and will also ride at Kembla Grange on Thursday. Picture: AAP IMAGE/SIMON BULLARD
BACK: Jockey James McDonald made his return from a lengthy suspension and will also ride at Kembla Grange on Thursday. Picture: AAP IMAGE/SIMON BULLARD

Top jockey James McDonald made an immediate impact in his return from a lengthy ban at Warwick Farm this week and will look to continue in the same vein at Kembla Grange on Thursday.

McDonald saluted in his first ride back from an 18-month suspension when he piloted the Chris Waller-trained Cormac to victory in the TAB Handicap (1400m) on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old hadn’t ridden since November, 2016 after he was suspended for placing a bet on a horse he was riding. 

He rode a double at the Farm, adding a win on Monasterio to his victory on Cormac in his first day back in the saddle.

"My legs are a bit jelly. I didn’t need a tight finish to start off the day,” McDonald told Sky Thoroughbred Central after Cormac’s win.

“It’s been well documented over the past week how much I have matured and hopefully this is the start of bigger and better things.

"I want to move on and hopefully this is a good starting point."

McDonald’s family had the trip across from New Zealand to see his comeback on course.

He will continue his return with a further four rides at Kembla Grange on Thursday afternoon.

The two-time Sydney jockeys premiership hoop links up with Matthew Smith trained first starter Tonsor in the opening leg on the quaddie before taking the steer on Dawn Raid (race six) for John O’Shea.

He finishes the card on unbeaten John Sargent trained two-year-old Home Made and Chris Waller’s stayer Delacroix.