The powerful worldwide Godolphin thoroughbred operation will transfer one of their English based jockeys James Doyle to replace James McDonald as their number one Australian rider.
McDonlad has been the retained number one rider for Godolphin’s Australian trainer John O’Shea but stood himself down from riding last week when he became embroiled in a betting scandal and is under investigation from Racing New South Wales Stewards.
While Godolphin are committed to supporting McDonald throughout the investigation, their Australian Managing Director Henry Plumptre said that the organisation still had a high pressure business to operate so they have decided to bring Doyle to Australia.
“While we continue to support James McDonald over the period of the investigation, we also have a racing stable to run and James Doyle, who is a retained jockey for Godolphin, is one of the best jockeys in the world,” Plumptre said.
“With the winter recess in the UK, he is available to ride in Australia for Godolphin and Sheikh Mohammed and we are delighted to have him.”
O’Shea and McDonald have had tremendous success over the last couple of years, including three Group 1 wins so far this season with Astern in the Golden Rose Stakes, Hauraki in the Epsom and Hartnell in the Turnbull Stakes, and the trainer is confident that Doyle can maintain the high standard required to keep the royal blue colours of Godolphin a frequent visitor to the winner’s stall.
“We’re blessed to have another world-class rider to step in when needed. James has been a member of our team here in Australia in the past and has always fitted in extremely well,” O’Shea said.
“He’s been in good form this season and we’re looking forward to having a jockey with his experience joining the team.”
The twenty-eight year old Doyle began riding in 2004 and as well as having ridden seventeen Group One winners in four countries, has ridden in Australia previously at some of the big carnivals.
“I have really enjoyed my visits to Melbourne and Sydney to ride for Godolphin in feature races like the Golden Slipper and Cox Plate over the past two seasons,” Doyle said.
“This is a great opportunity to spend more time in Australia and I am looking forward to the challenge.”
Doyle, who rides around the 55kg mark, will take up his Australian duties in early December and Plumptre said that the stable would still be using lightweight jockeys Brenton Avdulla and Tim Clark when required.