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McDonald sings praises of Waller 3YO

James McDonald predicts a bright future for Warwick Farm winner Kovalica.

Fresh from a successful hit-and-run raid in Hong Kong, champion jockey James Mcdonald was straight back in the winner's stall at Warwick Farm aboard emerging talent Kovalica

McDonald headed to Sha Tin on Sunday to ride at the key lead-up meeting to next month's International Race Day and landed himself a double, highlighted by his Group 2 win aboard Romantic Warrior

He wasted no time getting back to business in Sydney, bringing Kovalica ($3.40) with a perfectly timed run to nail Green Shadows ($5) on the line in the Vinery Stallions Handicap (1600m) in an effort that had the hoop upbeat about the three-year-old's future. 

"He wasn't really entitled to win to be fair. That was a tremendous performance," McDonald said 

"He always felt like he was going to get close, but he dug deep. 

"He is above average obviously, and a lovely, improving Waller horse that is just going through the grades nicely." 

Kovalica is by Ocean Park, the same sire as stablemate and multiple Group 1 winner Kolding and like Kolding, he races in owner Neville Morgan's white and blue silks. 

Fourth on debut at Newcastle last month over 6 1⁄2 f, he appreciated a distance rise on Wednesday and trainer Chris Waller's stable representative Charlie Duckworth said the gelding was still a work in progress in terms of his race craft. 

"There was plenty of merit to his win because he probably sat a bit further back than what we anticipated," Duckworth said. 

"He can be a fraction slow away so that's something we need to work but once we iron out all those minor little things, then I'm sure he can go to some pretty nice races and I'm sure he is very progressive." 

McDonald and Waller were out of luck 35 minutes later when $3.50 chance Great Barrier Reef was strung up behind a wall of horses in the Kia Ora Stallions Handicap (1000m) and went to the line untested. 

The blue-blooded son of I Am Invincible travelled up strongly behind the leading bunch but could find no way clear, with the Mark Newnham-trained Shadow Devil sweeping down the outside unimpeded to score his third win in succession. 


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