Gun-for-hire James McDonald failed in his appeal against suspension yesterday, leaving John Moore with a jockey-booking conundrum as the trainer scrambles for riders to pilot his 15 runners entered for next weekend's key international day lead-up races.
Moore has five runners entered in each of the Longines Jockey Club Cup, Jockey Club Mile and Jockey Club Sprint next Sunday at Sha Tin and the already tricky situation took a turn for the worse yesterday when McDonald's appeal against a 12-day careless-riding charge picked up when riding Fiorente to second in the Melbourne Cup was rejected.
The 20-year-old New Zealander was to ride Dominant in the Cup and Captain Sweet in the Sprint, but Moore was forced to look overseas for another pinch-hitting option yesterday.
"It's great to have that many runners in these races, but the headache of course was always going to be finding jockeys to ride them. It just got a bit harder, but there are enough top-class riders here to step up," he said.
"We only have to fill the two gaps that James has left us with his suspension."
Moore is yet to confirm which overseas jockey will ride Dominant, with the rider likely to pick up other rides from Moore's string on the same day. Weichong Marwing will ride Captain Sweet, leaving the ride on Admiration up for grabs.
McDonald wasn't booked to ride Xtension, even though he had ridden that horse to victory in the BMW Champions Mile last season. Brett Prebble takes that mount and Packing Whiz in the Cup. Other key bookings on Moore's runners are Gerald Mosse on Irian in the Cup, while in the Mile Marwing will ride Dan Excel and Tim Clark has been booked for Military Attack.
The merry-go-round became even complicated for Moore when Olivier Doleuze revealed he would ride Singaporean star Super Easy in the Sprint, hopping off Able Speed, but the Frenchman will still ride Zaidan for the trainer in the Cup.
Super Easy arrived at Sha Tin last night, and Doleuze indicated he will ride the Michael Freedman-trained four-year-old in a crucial piece of trackwork on Wednesday. Doleuze has ridden for the trainer previously and said that while he hadn't seen much of Super Easy in action, the horse's record spoke for itself.
"I'm more than happy to ride a horse that won 12 straight in Singapore," he said. "He is now 12 from 13, but he is a horse with plenty of potential. He hasn't raced for a long time around a right-hand bend, so he might need to acclimatise, but when they're good, they're good."
Meanwhile, former star jockey Shane Dye made a low-key return to the saddle in his homeland of New Zealand yesterday, finishing unplaced in a maiden at Matamata. The 46-year-old Dye, who finished sixth on Goyescas, had been riding trackwork and trials since August, but hadn't ridden competitively since a 2010 stint in Mauritius.