John Hawkes has confirmed that the Hawkes stable have parted ways with James McDonald and the leading Sydney hoop looks to firm up his position with the Godolphin stable.
McDonald has done a great deal of riding for Team Hawkes since he made the full-time move to Australia in 2012 and he has been the stables ‘go to’ jockey in Sydney, but Hawkes told Racing Ahead this morning that McDonald had elected to end his association with the stable due to his desire to ride for Godolphin.
“It wasn’t really a partnership, but we could call on James when we wanted him for a nice ride,” Hawkes said.
“He didn’t want to ride ours anymore and he just wanted to ride Godolphin’s.
“That is his decision and he can do what he wants and he has a lot of ability and Godolphin have got a lot of horses.
“He is the one that theoretically sacked us; he didn’t want to ride ours and he wanted to ride Godolphin’s.
“We might use him in the future, but it will be if and when we want to use him.”
Hawkes said that the stable had not selected a jockey to replace McDonald in Sydney, but he revealed that Team Hawkes leading Melbourne-based hoop Dwayne Dunn would make the trip to Sydney on Saturday to partner Lake Geneva in the Group 3 Widden Stakes (1100m) and Mawahibb in the Group 3 Canonbury Stakes (1100m), while Tommy Berry and Blake Shinn are also set to do some riding for the stable in the coming weeks.
“There are plenty of other jockeys that want to ride our horses,” Hawkes said.
“There is no number one seed really; Tommy Berry is riding some for us, Blake Shinn is riding some for us and we will use whoever from now on and spread them all around.
“Dwayne Dunn rides all our horses in Melbourne and we have always tried to have a top jockey in Melbourne and a top jockey in Sydney, but there are plenty of good jockeys and it is not the end of the world.”
McDonald rode 11 black-type winners for Team Hawkes in 2014 and most notable steered Mossfun to victory in the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens after she missed the start and was forced to settle at the tail of the field.
The leading hoop finished his association with Team Hawkes by taking out the Listed Carrington Stakes (1400m) on Ninth Legion and the James Boag’s Premium Handicap (1200m) with Mihiri at Royal Randwick last Saturday and he also scored race wins for Godolphin (Haptic) and Sam Kavanagh (Centre Pivot).