David Atkins was relieved on Wednesday when X-rays cleared boom colt Jonker of serious injury but the Newcastle trainer was still angry over the ride of Matthew McGillivray, saying the jockey had not earned the right to compete in a race like the Magic Millions Classic.
Jonker, with Hugh Bowman aboard, was forced into the inside rail for several metres early in the $2 million (1200m) on the Gold Coast on Saturday.
McGillivray, who was aboard Ef Troop, was given a month suspension for causing the interference when trying to gain the lead from gate 13. Jonker, an early favourite for the race, suffered bruising and cuts on his front and hind legs and nose and pulled up last.
Connections were concerned Jonker, a $45,000 buy which won the Max Lees Classic and Wyong Magic Millions, had sustained more serious damage to his knees.
However, Atkins had positive news on Wednesday.
“He came back home Monday afternoon and he’s had X-rays on both knees this morning and everything is fine,” Atkins said. “There was some swelling and skin off his knees, but they are OK now. They’ve settled down.
“He’ll go for a good spell now and I’ll probably have him ready for early in the spring. He’ll probably start off in the San Domenico Stakes.”
Atkins said Jonker and Bowman were lucky not to fall and McGillivray was fortunate not to receive a bigger penalty.
“It was very disappointing for the owners,” he said. “A lot of time and money goes into getting them ready for these races and there was probably someone in the race … I probably very much doubt he’s good enough to ride in a race like that.
“Jockeys have got to earn the right to ride in those races and he hasn’t. They obviously look at the dollars signs and the pressure of the race and they can’t handle it.
“He was lucky it was up there and not in Sydney. I’d say he would have got a darned sight more and a decent fine as well out of it because the Sydney boys don’t take too kindly to that sort of stuff. He probably put six or seven horses out of the race.”
Atkins was confident Jonker would bounce back.
“He’ll be fine and the long break will do him the world of good,” he said. “He’ll grow a bit more and get a bit stronger. Hopefully he’ll improve and he can still win a couple of really good races.”
Meanwhile, Newcastle trainer Kris Lees believes Singing will face a tougher task than his past two wins at Doomben when he contests the listed Gosford Gold Cup (2100m) on Thursday.
Singing, an eight-year-old stallion from France, overcame a long history of injury setbacks to breakthrough in Australia with the back-to-back wins in Queensland.
He was $3.20 favourite with TAB Fixed Odds on Wednesday for the $150,000 Gosford race.
“He’s in great order and I’m looking forward to him running here,” Lees said.
“I think he will race well. It’s certainly a stronger race than his last two but he was quite dominant in both races.
“It’s a stronger race and there could be more pressure too, so it could be a totally different set-up.”
Singing has struggled on firm tracks and Gosford was a Good 4 on Wednesday.
"He couldn’t be in better order so I’m not as concerned and the Gosford track is in really good condition,” he said.
“They’ve got good grass coverage and it’s probably one of the best surfaces around.”
Lees also has wet-track specialist Slow Pace in the race.
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