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‘I was little chance’: McDonald’s amazing recovery to ride Giga Kick

Champion jockey James McDonald gave himself “little chance” of being back to ride Giga Kick in the Premiere Stakes when he was contacted about his availability to ride The Everest winner.

McDonald was confirmed on Friday as the replacement for Craig Williams in the Premiere and The Everest after he was given a doctor’s clearance to ride from September 30.

James McDonald is surprised to get the clearance to ride Giga Kick in the Premiere Stakes on September 30.

James McDonald is surprised to get the clearance to ride Giga Kick in the Premiere Stakes on September 30.Credit: Simon Schluter

“They rang to see where I was with my broken foot early in the week and I told them I would see the doctor on Friday, but I thought I was little chance,” McDonald said. “They said let us know how you go on Friday. That was as far as it went.

“I was always going to come back a week later, but I have worked very hard this week in the hyperbaric chamber and with light treatment for a couple of hours a day, and the foot responded very well.

“I was thrilled the doctor gave me the clearance because I can feel the rapid improvement because of all the work I have put in for the past two weeks.

“I told them I was right and they offered me the ride.”

The offer came after a week of drama concerning Williams after his ride on Giga Kick in the McEwen Stakes, where he took off at the 800m and was beaten into third by Imperatriz.

Pinecliff racing manager Rod Douglas publicly blasted the ride as a gut-buster to start his Everest campaign, and Williams apologised for his ride. Giga Kick is the $4.50 Everest favourite.

“I have been in this situation myself and it’s an awful feeling,” McDonald said. “Giga Kick is a great horse and a great ride. I look forward to riding him in the Premiere Stakes and the Everest.”

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