McDonald dropped by Godolphin after 18-month ban

James McDonald won several big races in Britain over the summer

PICTURE: John Grossick ( McDonald dropped by Godolphin after ban By Keith Melrose 7:26AM 22 DEC 2016

JOCKEY James McDonald has been banned for 18 months by the Racing New South Wales stewards and has been released from his contract with Godolphin.

McDonald was found to have profited from the win of Astern when the subsequent Group 1 winner made a successful debut at Randwick on December 5 last year.

Punter Anthony Gardiner placed the $1000 bet on McDonald's behalf, which returned $4000.

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In a statement released after the sentence was passed, Godolphin said: "Godolphin agrees that there must be zero tolerance of any breaches of the prohibition on betting by a jockey.

"Godolphin has advised James McDonald that, as he is disqualified, he will be released from his current contract with immediate effect. This decision has been accepted by James.

The statement continued: "We will continue to support him throughout his suspension. His long term future with Godolphin will be reviewed in due course by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed."

Rider to appeal

McDonald stood himself down voluntarily when the charge was announced in mid-November and his ban has been back-dated to reflect that.

However, his legal team had pushed for a much lesser ban, reflecting his full cooperation with the investigation and the fact that he rode Astern in the race in question.

McDonald said: "I made an error of judgment betting on Astern when I rode it and broke a rule of racing. But I am extremely disappointed with the penalty and I will be appealing."

McDonald made waves in a short spell riding for Godolphin in Britain earlier this year. James Doyle has taken his place as the operation's pricipal rider in Australia for the winter.

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