James McDonald after winning the Northumberland Plate on Antiquarium
PICTURE: John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)
IF JAMES MCDONALD were to give a verdict on the success of his stay in Britain this year he could easily have said, “I’m Lovin’ It”.
For the Kiwi, who rides for the final time at Goodwood on Saturday, has found his fourth trip considerably more rewarding than all the others.
Last year McDonald’s six winners earned total prize-money of £77,000 but at the end of yesterday his 2016 score was 19 wins for more than £760,000.
Invited to Britain by Godolphin, for whom he rides in Australia, McDonald was on hand to step in when William Buick picked up a 30-day ban, and he has made the most of the opportunity.
His highlights included a Northumberland Plate victory on Antiquarium, a Princess of Wales’s Stakes success on Big Orange and a Lennox Stakes win on Dutch Connection. He also excelled on Newmarket’s July course where he rode nine winners.
“It’s been very enjoyable,” he said. “I have been overwhelmed by the support I have received in the last four to five weeks. I am very privileged to be in the situation I am.
“I am having my first ride for John Gosden today, my first ride for Sir Michael Stoute on Saturday, it is pretty cool. These are the people you strive to ride for and to get the chance is fantastic.
“Overall I couldn’t have wished for better. I have had three very good winners. Winning on Dutch Connection was a huge thrill. Probably the horse that helped me out the most was Big Orange and the Northumberland Plate was no race to sneeze at either.”
McDonald flies home tomorrow as the newly-crowned Sydney champion jockey, a title he had effectively wrapped up before he arrived in England. He returns to action there on August 20 before Golden Rose day a week later.
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