Jockey James McDonald declares Ranvet Stakes winner Contributer the best in the land

James McDonald is the final link of a mighty chain at Godolphin but his ride on Contributer to win the Ranvet Stakes showed why he has been retained by the racing behemoth.
Nanjing Night Net

With Sheikh Mohammed’s bloodstock advisor John Ferguson on track, McDonald gave an exhibition of his skill, talent and nous in a tactical 2000-metre weight-for-age race.

Such affairs can often be jockey’s races, but it helps if your on the best horse as well.

McDonald came back glowing after a 1¼-length victory where he had time to have a longing look back at his rivals behind him before the post.

“He is by far and away the best horse in Australia. He just proved it and will do it again and again,” McDonald told Ferguson. “The firm track wasn’t a problem at all. That was awesome.”

McDonald settled in the third pair of the seven-horse field but coming to the 800m mark he made the decisive move.

He eased Contributer back and went to the fence behind Lucia Valentina, which he had been outside of for the first half of the race.

By the 600m, Contributer was on her back and travelling. McDonald waited to unleash his powerful turn of foot, which effectively finished the race in a matter of strides.

“James [McDonald] has always been adamant that if we ride him a little bit quieter, he’ll accelerate better and I think you saw that today. It was a wonderful performance,” trainer John O’Shea said.

“I knew what he was doing [at 800m] and we have talked about that and that is what we want to do in those scenarios at Rosehill.

“That’s why James is there for us because he does those things and gets them right.”

McDonald’s patience paid off in the straight when he drove Contributer between leader Fast Dragon and Lucia Valentina at the 250m mark. He then stormed away.

The race was over inside the 100m and the margin could have been bigger. Contributer beat Japanese visitor Tosen Stardom with Lucia Valentina another 1¼ lengths back in third.

When McDonald moved Lucia Valentina it might have raised a few eyebrows in the stands, but Hugh Bowman gave his stamp of approval.

“If I was going better and holding my ground maybe it could have been interference,” he said. “But fair game, play on.”

Bowman added he was delighted with his mare. “She is going really well. She is meeting better horses than she met in the spring. I wouldn’t say we can’t beat them on our terms,” he said.

There were no excuses for those beaten by Contributer, which was made a $3.50 favourite for the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick on April 11 by the TAB after the win. O’Shea had a warning for his rivals.

“I think the key to the horse as we’ve said all along is three weeks between runs really suits him. He came here today with lovely fresh legs and raced accordingly,” he said.

“A lot of work has gone into him from John Ferguson finding him and sending out here and the team learning about him and getting the best of him. Then we got a ride like that to finish it off.”

Tommy Berry was happy with Tosen Stardom in a slowly run race that didn’t suit and is looking forward to a rematch in three weeks.

“He has had a long time between runs and is obviously going to take improvement and they went a bit slow for him and then they sprinted. But his last 100m was a bit smart,” Berry said.

“He certainly is better on the bigger track as well.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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