James McDonald saved his best for last to cap off a red-letter day as the Kiwi star propelled Cascadian into the Doncaster Mile by winning the prelude at Rosehill in Sydney on Saturday.
McDonald – who rode five winners a fortnight ago – showed why he’s one of the best in the business as he expertly weaved a passage through the field on the Godolphin import to secure his fourth winner on the card.
The Sydney premiership-leading jockey had earlier claimed the Group I Tancred Stakes on Verry Elleegant and a pair of stakes wins on Quick Thinker (Tulloch Stakes) and Night’s Watch (Neville Sellwood Stakes).
He needed to reach deep into his bags of tricks to add a fourth after electing to go back from barrier No 13 in the Group III Doncaster Prelude over 1500m.
McDonald needed the gaps to open but when they came he took them to help Cascadian earn ballot exemption for the Doncaster in seven days time.
“He gave me a really feel,” McDonald said. “I think that gets him exempt from the Doncaster and who is to say that he wouldn’t be in it right up to his ears.
“He burst through, he was held up for a long time up that straight and got out with a furlong (200m) to go.
“He was great. He wanted to have a good crack and gave me a good feel so who knows.”
Cascadian edged out the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained Master Of Time ($18) by a neck with stablemate Gaulois ($8.50) a further 1.25 lengths back in third.
“It has worked out well,” trainer James Cummings said.
“It has been a long few weeks at Rosehill it feels with the track and the ins and outs of it.
“James (McDonald) came out to us and said “I can’t try and do what I did on Pohutukawa in the last (race)” and I was more than happy to see the horse go back and weave through.
“Thank goodness Gaulois went as well as he did because if he didn’t find at the 250m, then Cascadian would have been in a world of trouble.
“The tectonic plates shifted for him, he burst through and savaged the line.”
Cascadian is now a $15 hope with TAB.com.au for the Doncaster, to be held at Randwick. Cummings will contemplate starting his son of New Approach in the race.
“There is no guarantee we will run him but he is absolutely flying, I had a really good feeling he was coming to a peak this preparation. He was ready to run a big race,” he said. – racenet.com.au