- Dianne McDonald trains Melbourne Cup roughie Virtuous Circle
- Her son James McDonald will ride $7 chance Gold Trip
- Kiwi hoop, 31, has been a star performer in the Spring Carnival
- Already snared Group 1 races Cox Plate and Victoria Derby
If champion jockey James McDonald wins the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday, no one will be happier than his mother Dianne.
It comes despite the trainer having her own entrant in the 23-strong field, rank outsider Virtuous Circle, rated a $151 chance with the bookies.
Her 31-year-old son – who won the Moonee Valley Gold Cup on board Cleveland, Cox Plate when riding Romantic Warrior and the Victoria Derby with Riff Rocket to dominate the Spring Carnival – is tipped to be in the race that stops a nation up to his eyeballs over 3200m.
The Kiwi hoop secured the ride on Gold Trip, who happened to win Australia’s most decorated race at Flemington 12 months ago.
‘I will be cheering for Gold Trip, all the way,’ Dianne McDonald told Racenet.
If champion jockey James McDonald wins the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday, no one will be happier than his mother Dianne (pictured, left)
The Kiwi hoop has already won the Moonee Valley Gold Cup on board Cleveland, Cox Plate when riding Romantic Warrior and the Victoria Derby with Riff Rocket during a dominant Spring Carnival
‘My ultimate dream would be Gold Trip first, Virtuous Circle second….’I went to bed the other night picturing it happening.’
Born and raised in Waikato, and the son of a former jockey and trainer, Brett McDonald, James rode his first professional winner in 2007.
He soon became New Zealand’s premier rider before moving to Sydney, and many in the industry have McDonald in the conversation as the world’s best jockey.
The pint-sized superstar has also tasted Melbourne Cup success previously – he won on board Verry Elleegant in 2021.
McDonald expects to be firmly in contention as the field approaches the winning post.
‘This horse is top-class, who has won a serious weight-for-age race previously,’ he said.
‘And I don’t think his 58.5kg [weight] is too bad, despite what others may think.
‘I think the winner should come from the top five [favoured] horses.’