Expat Kiwi jockey James McDonald will miss the plum ride on New Zealand-trained filly Telepathic in Saturday week’s Queensland Derby 2014 after copping a suspension for causing a nasty race fall that could have ended very badly for fellow hoop Tye Angland.
It was a terrifying fall from Angland at Canterbury on Wednesday, one that led to a huge 13 meet suspension to McDonald for his part in the $50,000 Testa Rossa @ Vinery Plate (1580m).
Angland and his mount Munyeca ($51), who incredibly still finished fourth behind the Nash Rawiller-ridden winner Enormous Honour ($2.45F), were storming home over the closing stages when they clipped heels with McDonald’s horse The Big Bomber ($7) who shifted out while Enormous Honour shifted in giving Angland nowhere to go.
Munyeca stumbled badly with Angland flying over the horse’s head, amazingly managing to hold onto one rein to secure a top four finish and $1885 for connections before hitting the ground.
Scary photos on the line show Angland in a superman like position in between the runners, images that it’s hard to imagine him coming through unscathed from.
“It looks like I’ve beaten the horse across the line,” Angland, 24, told The Daily Telegraph.
A few bumps and bruises mainly on his right leg however are all the brave jockey suffered, his background in rodeo being credited in part to his lucky escape.
“I should have got paid double considering I held on,” Angland joked post-race.
“It wasn’t the worst fall, but no fall is a good fall. It’s never a good feeling.”
A spell in Hong Kong was cut short by the Sydney-based Angland who only returned to riding at home last week but is already looking forward to a Group 1 ride in Queensland on the weekend.
He’s booked and still right, despite the close mid-week call, to ride Rock Diva in the $400,000 Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Tony Pike’s Kiwi-trained Lucky Unicorn filly has had just the one run down under when sixth to hot Oaks favourite Arabian Gold in the Group 2 The Roses (2000m) at Doomben on May 17.
Her run prior to that was a lovely effort at home in mid-March when third to Miss Mossman in the Group 1 NZ Oaks (2400m).
She’s one of the few in this year’s Queensland Oaks field with experience over the distance, and is tipped to improve on her Australian debut when down in distance.
Rock Diva though is still at double figures paying $11 in the latest Oaks markets after suffering a wide draw in the extreme outside barrier.
While Angland is right for his big Group 1 Queensland ride, McDonald’s suspension sees him miss out on the $500,000 Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) on Stradbroke Handicap Day.
He could also lose his front position in the Sydney jockey premiership with Nash Rawiller likely to tighten the gap with McDonald out of action.
He was to partner with one-time favourite Telepathic for trainer Donna Logan, another New Zealand-based three-year-old over for the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
The daughter of Mossman has had two runs down under, the first a nice second to Amexed in the Group 3 Rough Habit Plate (2000m).
She failed to run top three again last Saturday however when fifth behind new Queensland Derby favourite Vilanova in the Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes (2200m).
Chris Waller’s classy Commands gelding Vilanova sits top of the futures Derby odds at $4.40 while Telepathic, currently riderless, is at $8.
Logan has been flooded with incoming calls from jockeys and their managers eager to replace McDonald who returns to riding on June 22.
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