One of James McDonald's biggest supporters is convinced the champion New Zealand apprentice's future belongs in Sydney rather than Melbourne.
Randwick trainer John O'Shea, who has booked the Cambridge apprentice to ride Elite Falls in a stakes race at Warwick Farm on Saturday, insists the rider's career could reach unprecedented heights if he makes Sydney his home.
O'Shea and fellow Randwick trainer Anthony Cummings have been to the forefront of talks in trying to entice McDonald to Sydney.
McDonald, freely tipped for a stellar international riding career, is also weighing up Melbourne options with the worldwide attention given to the Victorian spring carnival a motivating factor.
"I've explained to James you don't necessarily have to be domiciled in Melbourne to ride the Melbourne Cup winner," O'Shea said.
"Besides, how often do you see Sydney horses dominate over the Melbourne carnival?
"A few years ago, Sydney-trained horses won seven of the nine races on Victoria Derby Day, the best day's racing in the country.
"If James was based in Sydney he could almost have the pick of any Sydney horse going to Melbourne for the carnival, he's that good.
"The Melbourne Cup Carnival is only one week of the year. If Racing NSW wins its court case, prizemoney is going to go through the roof here and that will make it more attractive for a jockey riding week in and week out."
McDonald has engaged the services of Sydney-based riding agent Bryan Haskins to handle his Australian affairs.
The 19-year-old, who notched a double at Te Rapa last Saturday in between riding Queensland Oaks winner Scarlett Lady in an exhibition gallop, also has a Warwick Stakes booking on the Grahame Begg-trained All Silent.
Early mounts in support races for the record-breaking rider include the New Zealand-trained Zara Dancer and veteran stayer Get Up Jude.
However Haskins said McDonald could have had a full book by early Monday if he was able to ride at the limit weight of 53kg.
Elite Falls is one of 14 nominations for the group three Silver Shadow Stakes.
McDonald will stay in Sydney to take rides at Warwick Farm next Tuesday.AAP