Trainer Colin Scott has snapped up James McDonald to ride Speediness in Saturday's Toorak Hcp after Craig Williams failed to beat a careless riding ban.
Speediness was an eye-catching fourth in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) last start, finishing powerfully to get within half a length of the winner Rebel Dane.
"We would have loved to have Craig still on the horse because he knows him and he's an outstanding rider, but I was overwhelmed by the amount of topline riders that rang up for the ride and we opted to go with James," Scott said.
McDonald is the rider of star galloper It's A Dundeel who won the Underwood Stakes at Caulfield last start but is battling a hoof issue ahead of Saturday's Caulfield Stakes.
However, yesterday trainer Murray Baker seemed sanguine that the 4-year-old was well on the road to recovery and would be lining up.
Scott said a ride of McDonald's on trainer Greg Bennett's Kaypers in the Scone Cup earlier this year, which Speediness won and Kaypers was a close third, stuck in his mind when he booked the jockey.
"Benno [Bennett] is a very good mate of mine and he holds James in high regard, and I think he's a nice calm rider with very good hands so that immediately stuck in my mind.
"Speediness just needs to settle and relax and I just think he might be the man for the job." AAP