The conflict facing McDonald is whether to partner with Neasham trained Zaaki or stick with Chris Waller and ride Verry Elleegant across the carnival as well as choosing between Lost and Running or Nature Strip.
After the last Spring Carnival there would have been no doubt that McDonald would be lining up again aboard Verry Elleegant in 2021 however after wins in the Hollindale Stakes as well as the Group 1 Doomben Cup aboard Zaaki it’s going to be a tough call.
As well as deliberating about who to partner in the distance races McDonald also has to choose between Lost and Running and Nature Strip for the sprint classics in spring.
With the gluttony of talent available for McDonald to choose from you’d think he’d be in an enviable position but with the chances of a Cox Plate and The Everest on the line it’s definitely a tougher choice than it looks on paper.
It is likely that McDonald will partner the Waller pair through the Spring having ridden Nature Strip and Verry Elleegant through their careers when available to do so which included a Caulfield Cup and TJ Smith titles along the way.
In Everest betting at the moment Nature Strip is also favourite for the race $4.60 with Lost and Running on the fourth line of betting at $10.
Betting in the W.S. Cox Plate is much closer however with Zaaki delivering such devastating wins in the Sunshine State propelling him to favourite for the $5m feature over Verry Elleegant on the second line at $8.
Whatever McDonald decides all 4 runners are certain to be prominent through spring.