McDonald released by Godolphin

James McDonald has been released from his contract as Godolphin's number one Australian-based jockey after he was banned 18 months for having breached betting regulations.

James McDonald: Banned for 18 months

McDonald pleaded guilty of having a bet of 1,000 Australian dollars (around £585) on Astern when the John O'Shea-trained colt made his debut at Randwick on December 5, 2015.

The 24-year-old made a profit of 4,000 Australian dollars (around £2,340) from the bet that was placed for him by a punter, Anthony Gardiner.

McDonald stood himself down from riding during the inquiry and has now been disqualified by Racing New South Wales Stewards.

Godolphin said in a statement they have released McDonald from his contract, but that his "long-term future" will be reviewed in "due course" by Sheikh Mohammed.

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The statement read: "Godolphin agrees that there must be zero tolerance of any breaches of the prohibition on betting by a jockey.

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"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.

"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."

McDonald, who has been in his role with Godolphin since March 2015, plans to appeal against the severity of the disqualification.

He said in a statement: "I made an error of judgement betting on Astern when I rode it and broke a rule of racing. I accept full responsibility for that.

"But I am extremely disappointed with the penalty and I will be appealing.

"I will be back riding, and hopefully sooner than later.

"It is not appropriate that I say anything else until the appeal is over."

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