More fame for James

Melbourne Cup winning jockey James McDonald will have his name added to Cambridge’s Walk of Fame.

The announcement was made by Waipā District Council this week and is welcomed by staff at The News – he was nominated by editor Roy Pilott..

James McDonald. Photo: Trish Dunell.

After McDonald won the Melbourne Cup there was support in the racing industry for him to be inducted – including from Sheila Laxon, who has her own plaque on Duke Street. The induction will come with an unveiling ceremony of his bronze plaque in the town centre.

McDonald said he was “absolutely gob smacked” when he found out he would be joining the Sports Walk of Fame alongside “some of my idols”.

“It is an honour to be inducted and the recognition means a lot to not only me, but also my family, and all the people who have supported and contributed towards my career.”

Jockey James McDonald salutes the judge after his victory on Velocious at Ellerslie Racecourse. Photo: Natasha Wood.

The 32-year-old was born in Kaipaki and having established himself by winning the apprentice and premier riding titles in New Zealand moved to Australia. In 2021 he won the Melbourne Cup on Verry Elleegant – who died due to complications whilst in foal in February – and was named World Jockey of the Year.

“Cambridge is where I gained my love for riding – mum had me on a horse from the age of seven. I was very lucky that my parents had their own training facility in Cambridge,” McDonald said.

Waipā mayor Susan O’Regan said James was a remarkably talented jockey and had rightfully earned his spot among other sporting legends.

“I’m delighted that his achievements will be publicly recognised and celebrated,” she said.

James McDonald after winning the Lexus Melbourne Cup aboard Verry Elleegant (NZ) at Flemington Racecourse on November 02, 2021 in Flemington, Australia. (Reg Ryan/Racing Photos)

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