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There is no ducking and weaving from James McDonald regarding expectations for New Zealand mare Rising Romance in Saturday’s Craven Plate at Randwick.

On the third line of Caulfield Cup betting, the mare is also the warmest favourite on the Epsom Handicap day program.

With Hawkspur missing the Craven Plate to contest the Turnbull Stakes in Melbourne, Rising Romance will have just five rivals and McDonald wants to see her put them away.

“If she can’t win that she may as well go home,” McDonald said.

“She’s got to be winning. There’s no excuses for her.”

McDonald partnered Rising Romance to a comprehensive Australian Oaks victory in the autumn and reunited with her last start when she finished just worse than midfield in the George Main Stakes won by Sacred Falls.

That effort followed a first-up fourth in the Tramway Stakes when Tim Clark warmed the saddle.

Sydney’s most in-demand jockey, McDonald has eight rides at Randwick including Toydini for Hawkes Racing in the Epsom Handicap and Spillway for David Hayes and Tom Dabernig in the Metropolitan.

Interestingly, McDonald nominated his Roman Consul Stakes mount Nostradamus as his best ride.

 
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