Kiwi jockey making a splash in Melbourne

00:16, Nov 06 2012
Melbourne Cup
Michael Rodd riding Villa Verde wins race one the 7News Plate during 2012 Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington.
Melbourne Cup 2012
Horses cross the line in the 7 News Plate during 2012 Melbourne Cup.
Melbourne Cup 2012
Michael Rodd riding Villa Verde wins race one the 7News Plate during 2012 Melbourne Cup.
2012 Melbourne Cup
Damien Oliver walks through the mounting yard at the 2012 Melbourne Cup.
2012 Melbourne Cup
Brett Prebble riding Kasane wins the TAB Trophy.
Melbourne Cup 2012 racing action
Jockeys exit the mounting yard on their horses amidst the big crowd before the TAB Trophy race.
Melbourne Cup
Brett Prebble riding Kasane wins the TAB Trophy.
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Horses jump from the barrier in the Lavazza Long Black during 2012 Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington Racecourse
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Hugh Bowman riding Koonoomoo wins race four the Herald Sun Stakes during 2012 Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington Racecourse
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Dwayne Dunn riding Verdant
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The horses round the bend in the Lavazza Long Black
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Dwayne Dunn riding Verdant celebrates winning the Lavazza Long Black
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Prince Charles, Prince of Wales greats fans.
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Kerrin McEvoy riding Genteel wins the Schweppes Tonic 1000.
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Kerrin McEvoy leads the pack at the Schweppes Tonic 1000.
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Damien Oliver walks back to scale after his horse Detours broke down in the Herald Sun Stakes during 2012
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Hugh Bowman making hard work of The Herald Sun Stakes.
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Kerrin McEvoy riding Genteel
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Damien Oliver riding Walk With Attitude wins the Lexus Hyrbrid Plate
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Prince Charles and Camilla speak with jockey Ryan Moore
Finish Line
Melbourne Cup 2012 finish
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Brett Pebble riding Green Moon wins the Emirates Melbourne Cup
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Brett Prebble riding Green Moon (R) crosses the finish line to win the Emirates Melbourne Cup.
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Brett Pebble takes forces his way to the front

Revelations yesterday that Cambridge jockey James McDonald was approached about riding last year's Melbourne Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux in today's A$6.2 million (NZ$7.78m) Flemington showpiece illustrate just how highly he is regarded on a global scale.

Champion English trainer Ed Dunlop confirmed he had spoken to McDonald about his availability for the Red Cadeaux ride, but at that stage the 20-year-old Sydney-based jockey had already committed to the Gai Waterhouse-trained Fiorente.

Michael Rodd, who finished second on Red Cadeaux in last year's cup, beaten a nose, takes the reins again today.

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NUMBER ONE: James McDonald celebrates after riding Silent Achiever to win the Scweppes Crystal Mile during Cox Plate Day at Moonee Valley on October 27.

"James was under consideration for Red Cadeaux," Dunlop said of McDonald yesterday.

"He'd taken the ride on Fiorente though. We were always waiting for Michael to be fair. We didn't know till after the Caulfield Cup whether we had him or not and as soon as he was available we grabbed him."

Dunlop has spoken to McDonald about riding in England in the future and said he regarded him as an emerging international talent.

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"James spent three or four weeks with us a couple of years ago," Dunlop said.

"Peter Vela asked me if I'd be happy to accommodate him and he had three or four weeks riding out for me at Newmarket and he had a couple of rides in races for me.

"I know he was king of New Zealand and things are going very well for him here in Australia. I was talking to Michael Rodd about him and said ‘how's he getting on?'

"Michael said he was rapidly moving up the ranks. He's a cool kid and I'm sure he'll go very far."

McDonald breaks new ground again today with his first ride in the Melbourne Cup and as he sat perched up on the back of a Mercedes convertible yesterday as part of the annual cup parade that featured the likes of Australian racing legend Bart Cummings before an estimated 50,000-strong crowd, he admitted it was all "a bit overwhelming for a Kiwi kid from the country".

"It's just pretty exciting really. Look how many people are queued up to watch. It's amazing, really. There's so much hype around the race," McDonald said yesterday.

"I just wanted to get Derby day out of the way before I started thinking about it and today it's all just starting to sink in what the Melbourne Cup is all about. It's all a bit overwhelming really but it's pretty awesome though.

"I thought [Hong Kong] International Day was huge and Cox Plate day was massive, but this probably overtakes it. It's just unbelievable."

McDonald rode English import Fiorente - a $26 chance on the New Zealand TAB - in training at Werribee last week and said he had instantly got excited about his Melbourne Cup prospects.

"He's a beautiful stallion and I genuinely reckon the horse is a great chance of running in the money," McDonald said. "When I worked him during the week, he felt to me like he had a few gears there.

"Some of the European stayers are quite dour but he's got real zip. When he ran up the straight the other day - he just kept quickening all the time. The gate [barrier two] is going to suit him. Mourayan is drawn three and the speed is basically all around us. We're going to end up in a beautiful spot. I'd love to stay one off the fence and give myself options.

"I watched his replays again last night and it gave me more confidence the way he won that race [the Goldsmiths Stakes] at Newmarket.

"When he dashed away from them, he really put them away and he beat Joshua Tree and Red Cadeaux - two great horses. If he can bring that form to the Melbourne Cup he's going to be a great chance." 

Fairfax Media