Group One Commonwealth Cup favourite Equilateral looms as James McDonald’s most important ride at Royal Ascot but the Sydney-based jockey is also excited to don The Queen’s famous colours in another race during the meeting.
McDonald is expected to have rides on all five days of the Royal meeting which begins on Tuesday night (AEST) and is set to ride the Charlie Hills-trained Equilateral in Friday’s Commonwealth Cup.
Equilateral is the general 4/1 favourite and McDonald is expecting a good showing.
“I’ve got a good book of rides over the week so hopefully one will salute,” McDonald told RSN927.
“I think Friday is my best day and obviously Equilateral is going around that day.
“He’s a sprinter that everyone holds in high regard and hopefully he salutes, but he’s got a bit of a task in front of him. It’s not going to be an easy race but he’s going really well.”
McDonald is scheduled to ride Elector for The Queen in the King Edward VII Stakes on Friday’s program.
“On Friday I’ve got a ride for the Queen. It’s trained by Sir Michael Stoute and honestly I’m pretty buzzing about having a ride in her colours in front of her,” McDonald said.
“She will come down in the mounting yard and hopefully that horse will run really well.”
McDonald only returned to race riding last month after serving an 18-month disqualification for a betting offence.
He has ridden at Royal Ascot before but will be chasing his first win at the meeting, starting with two rides on Tuesday.
“It’s pretty incredible,” he said.
“It’s not about prize money, it’s all about prestige.
“Obviously the Queen turns up, and it’s basically her meeting.
“It’s just an incredible feeling. I think it’s one of the best (carnivals) in the world, apart from a couple of ours.
“Every race feels like a Group One and there’s not many carnivals in the world that feel like that.”