Star Kiwi jockey J-Mac makes winning return

Star New Zealand-born jockey James McDonald showed he has not lost any of his class after 18 months out of the saddle with a returning win in Sydney today.

McDonald won on Cormac when having his first ride back from an 18-month disqualification for breaking betting rules.  

He was banned from the saddle for placing a $1000 bet on a horse he was riding in a race in December 2015.

McDonald was made to work for his return win by rival jockey Kerrin McEvoy, on Smiling Manolito.

The two jockeys urged the best out of their mounts in a titanic home straight battle with Cormac and McDonald emerging the winners.

McDonald said his legs felt like jelly in his first race ride since November 5, 2016.

''My legs are a bit jelly, I didn't need that to start the day,'' he told Australian media.

The rider hoped his returning win would let him put his much publicised suspension behind him.

''Hopefully this is the start of bigger and better things, I want to move on and hopefully this is a good starting point.''

McDonald was considered one of Australia's premier jockeys and a superstar of the racing industry on both sides of the Tasman before his ban.

He looks on a fast track back to the top of the sport after his return, with the support of some of Australia's best trainers.

McDonald rode Cormac for leading trainer and fellow Kiwi-expat, Chris Waller.

In a further boost the jockey will not have to wait long for his first returning ride in a group 1 event.

McDonald will ride Care To Think in the group 1 Kingsford Smith Cup at Doomben on May 26.


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