McDonald clear to ride in Wellington Cup and Karaka Million Fri, 20 Jan 2012
James McDonald’s appeal against the five-day penalty he incurred on the second of two careless charges at Te Rapa last Thursday has been partially successful, clearing him to ride next weekend in the Wellington Cup and Karaka Million.
McDonald had been found guilty on both charges and was handed a three-day suspension on the first charge and five days on the second. Through pleading not guilty to the second charge, however, he was able to lodge an appeal.
That freed him to ride at tomorrow’s opening day of the Wellington carnival where his mounts included Telegraph Handicap second favourite Guiseppina. McDonald’s appeal was heard prior to the first race at Matamata this morning before JCA panelists Murray McKechnie and Richard Seabrook. Guiseppina’s co-owner Peter Vela appeared with McDonald, along with a special witness in the form of former leading jockey Shane Dye.
Evidence was heard from the McDonald camp and from stipendiary steward John Oatham, after which the JCA panel reduced McDonald’s penalty from five days to three.
“After hearing evidence and viewing video footage of the incident, the panel formed a view that differed with that of stewards on the day,” commented JCA panel chairman Murray McKechnie.
That means McDonald will be free to ride from the conclusion of racing next Thursday and thus take the mounts on Wellington Cup favourite Green Supreme and his last start Zabeel Classic winner Shez Sinsational in the Gr. 1 Thorndon Mile.
McDonald has also been confirmed for Choice Bro in the Karaka Million on Sunday week. He rode the Choisir colt in his last start win at Ellerslie on December 28 and was also on board when he limbered up with an easy trial win at Te Awamutu on Tuesday.