McDonald looking to break through for maiden Everest
October 14, 2021
Superstar jockey James McDonald has won a plethora of good races in his time but is yet to break through for an Everest. He teams up with Nature Strip this weekend to try and break the duck.
Leading NSW jockey James McDonald has had the two rides in the $15 million dollar sprint with an 11th aboard Arcadia Queen in 2019 before running 7th last year aboard Nature Strip.
McDonald jumps back aboard the Waller trained Group 1 star this Saturday and the pair are hoping to make it 3rd time lucky. Nature Strip finished 4th in the 2019 edition before the 7th last year.
Nature Strip comes into this years Everest all guns blazing after winning both the Group 1 Lightning and TJ Smith. This time in he has won the Group 3 Concorde first up with ease before narrowly going down to Eduardo in the Group 2 Shorts last start.
“He’s going as good as ever, you can’t fault him at all, he’s had a good preparation and he’s ready for the hard 1200 metre race that’s going to be in front of him,” said McDonald.
With showers predicted on Friday leading into Saturday a wet track is predicted which shouldn’t worry Nature Strip who is two from two on the heavy and has had the four wins and one second from his seven starts on soft ground.
“I think I’d prefer it to be in the soft or worse side of soft range,” said McDonald.
“He gets through it really well, he’s got that galloping action as well the high cruising speed that seems to go fast on heavy ground then on quick ground,” he said.
It’s a wide open edition this year with Eduardo, 2020 winner Classique Legend, Gytrash and Masked Crusader all with under double figures.
McDonald though has ruled it down to two main dangers.
“I think you have to turn to the hard heads as always, Eduardo will handle the conditions if it’s worse side of soft, same as Gytrash,” said McDonald.
News has come through late this afternoon that McDonald along with Hugh Bowman and Glen Boss have been granted exemptions to ride at next week’s Cox Plate.
The three will have to quarantine for the best part of next week before they are allowed to compete in the 2040 metre feature around the Valley.
McDonald will jump back aboard Zaaki, Bowman on Mo’unga with Boss reuniting with defending champion Sir Dragonet.
Nature Strip is currently a $4.00 favourite ahead of this weekend Everest.
Whilst Zaaki remains the short priced favourite in the Cox Plate after his last start defeat.
For a full market on both The Everest and Cox Plate head to TopSport for all the latest markets.
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