James McDonald has been booked to partner the Gerald Ryan trained Menari in the 2018 version of the $13m The Everest (1200m) at Randwick on October 13.

Jockey James McDonald, above, will ride Menari in The Everest 2018 at Randwick. Photo by Daniel Costello.

Jockey James McDonald, above, will ride Menari in The Everest 2018 at Randwick. Photo by Daniel Costello.

McDonald has made an early commitment to ride Menari for slot holder Max Whitby even though the rising four year old hasn’t raced since finishing third to stablemate Trapeze Artist in the 2017 Group 1 $1m De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill last September during the Sydney Spring Carnival.

The Snitzel colt was sent out as the $2.40 favourite but couldn’t match it with Trapeze Artist and runner up Champagne Cuddles and was subsequently found to be suffering from a breathing disorder.

Menari has since recovered from a throat operation and is scheduled to have the first of two barrier trials on August 10 before kicking off his 2018 Spring Carnival campaign in the Group 3 $160,000 Concorde Stakes (1000m) at Randwick on September 1.

“He has had an operation and is very good now. He looks magnificent — he’s big and strong,” Ryan said.

“He resumes in the Concorde Stakes. He will then go to The Shorts and hopefully will line up in The Everest.”

Ryan said that he had agreed with owner George Altomonte and the slot holder’s syndicate headed by Max Whitby that McDonald would be the right man for the job.

“James has first refusal on the ride and was the unanimous choice among all concerned,” Ryan said.

“We had a list of five and he was on top with Mr Altomonte, the slot holders and myself.

“James has been out to Rosehill to ride him.”

McDonald was quick to get back into winning mode when he returned from an eighteen months disqualification for betting and has ridden fourteen Sydney Metropolitan  winners since hopping back into the saddle in May.

Early betting at Ladbrokes.com.au for the 2018 The Everest has Menari marked at $10 while Trapeze Artist heads the market order at $5 just in front of last year’s winner Redzel at $6.50

Early betting for the 2018 The Everest at Ladbrokes.com.au: $5 Trapeze Artist, $6.50 Redzel, $8 Nature Strip, Vega Magic, $10 Menari, U S Navy Flag, Kementari, $11 In Her Time, Santa Ana Lane, $16 Shoals, Brave Smash, $26 English, $41 Winx, She Will Reign, $61 or better the rest.

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