Premier jockey James McDonald has been booked to ride Japanese raider Real Impact in the $3 million Doncaster Mile.
The Group One winner, one of four Japanese-trained horses targeting The Championships in Sydney this autumn, is likely to make his local debut in the George Ryder Stakes as a springboard into the Doncaster.
McDonald’s manager David Raphael believed the jockey’s brief stint in Japan last year helped him secure the mount.
“James is very excited to be riding Real Impact – he is one of the best horses going around in Japan and you only have to go through his form to realise this is one serious racehorse,” Raphael said.
Hana’s Goal served a reminder of the strength of the Japanese horses during last year’s The Championships when she followed an eye-catching sixth in the Doncaster Mile with a brilliant victory in the Group One All Aged Stakes.
Irish horse Gordon Lord Byron also upstaged the locals in the Group One George Ryder Stakes.
The overseas contingent is again expected to figure prominently in Sydney this autumn with Hong Kong star Able Friend the early $6 favourite for the Doncaster while Japan’s World Ace shares the second line of betting at $8.
Real Impact is a $15 chance for the Randwick feature.