McDonald Touted as World's Best

Date: 20 Jun 2022

McDonald Touted as World's Best


We are very proud that our former Te Akau stable rider James McDonald has been so prominent since moving to Australia to continue his career. His Royal Ascot success over the past week has many touting him as the best in the world ... as the NZ Herald's Michael Guerin reports:


Kiwi jockey James McDonald leaves Royal Ascot being touted the world's best, even after missing out in the race he really wanted with Home Affairs.

McDonald gave favourite Home Affairs, trained by expat Kiwi Chris Waller and part-owned by Sir Peter Vela, every chance with an early lead in the £ 1million Platinum Jubilee, the richest sprint race of the carnival.

But after getting too keen and over-racing, Home Affairs dropped out to finish 20th in the 26-strong field, with 33-1 outsider Naval Crown leading home a 1-2 finish for global powerhouse Godolphin.

It was left to the less favoured Australasian galloper Artorius to fly the Down Under flag with a fast-finishing and luckless equal third in the 1200m event and he will now stay on in England and compete in the July Cup.

While McDonald had no luck in his richest race of the week he still claimed one of the valued support races today with Missed The Cut, who bolted away with the Golden Gates Stakes.

That took McDonald to three wins for the five-day carnival and while Europe's champion jockey Ryan Moore rode seven to win the leading rider title for the ninth time, it was McDonald who local trainers and pundits were raving about.

His treble came from only 10 rides at the meeting, two of who were favourites, and the 30-year-old New Zealand jockey's form and talent, while no surprise to Southern Hemisphere racing fans, had those from further north reaching for superlatives.

As much as McDonald loves riding in England, with the English Derby one race in particular he would love to compete in, Australasian race fans have no need to fear him moving, with the prize money in Australia dazzling compared with England and McDonald still able to ride the elite meetings there should he choose as they come during Australia's winter off-season.

While McDonald was one of the great talking points of Royal Ascot week another was the fact Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II did not attend any day of the meeting for the first time since her coronation.

Her Majesty's mobility issues meant she was absent most conspicuously from the daily royal procession before the meeting starts and Royal Ascot officials confirm she did not attend any of the five days.

In 2020 when the meeting was held behind closed doors because of Covid, is the only other time during her reign she has missed the meeting.

On a more cheerful note, one small-time Royal Ascot punter was left celebrating the win dreams are made of after winning £307,464 with a mere £2.50 accumulator bet when he picked all seven winners at Friday's fourth day of the carnival.

Tony Kenny, spokesman for bookmaker William Hill, said: "Many of our customers try going through the card at the bigger meetings like Royal Ascot or Cheltenham but few manage it.

"However, one pulled off the incredible feat of successfully choosing all seven winners on the penultimate day of the royal meeting at a frankly ridiculous price of 122,889-1.

"The £2.50 each-way bet on Meditate, Perfect Power, Candleford, Inspiral, Heredia, Changingoftheguard and Latin Lover won them £307,464.02."


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