Godolphin’s retained Australian rider James McDonald has stood himself down after being charged with a betting offence.
Racing NSW stewards interviewed and charged McDonald on Tuesday with having an interest in a bet on Astern who he rode to win his debut on December 5 last year.
Astern was backed from $4.60 to $3.50 on the day and and won by 2-1/2 lengths.
A stewards release said they questioned McDonald after receiving intelligence regarding his association with a known punter and that punter’s betting activities.
McDonald was not required to enter a plea and stood himself down after stewards told him they would consider exercising their discretion to suspend his licence.
Stewards also told McDonald their investigations would continue and reserved their position to issue additional charges should they unearth any further breaches of the rules.
McDonald, 24, is Sydney’s reigning premier jockey and spent the Australian winter riding for Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin team in England and Ireland.
Under the rules, jockeys are not allowed to bet on thoroughbred racing.
Racing NSW’s Media release:
Acting on intelligence received, Racing NSW today conducted an interview of licensed jockey James McDonald, relative to his association with a known punter and that punter’s betting activities.
Having regard to the evidence adduced at that interview, Racing NSW Stewards issued a charge against James McDonald under AR83(d), which states:
AR 83. Every jockey or apprentice may be penalised –
(d) If he bet, or has any interest in a bet on any race, or contingency relating to Thoroughbred racing involving a race in which he is riding. For the purposes of this rule, bet includes a lay bet (as defined in AR175B(7)).
The details of the charge being that he had an interest in a bet on the horse Astern to win in Race 1 (Surf Meets Turf Plate) at Royal Randwick on Saturday, 5 December 2015, being a horse that he rode in that race.
James McDonald was not required to enter a plea.
Subsequent to the charge being issued, Stewards indicated they would consider exercising a discretion under AR8(z) to suspend his licence on the basis that his ongoing participation would pose an unacceptable risk to, prejudice or undermine the image, interests or integrity of racing.
Upon application from James McDonald, the Stewards acceded to his request that in the circumstances he would be permitted to voluntarily stand himself down from riding immediately pending the hearing of the charge.
Mr McDonald was advised that should he seek to withdraw his application to voluntarily stand down, he would be required to attend a hearing before the Stewards and make submissions in respect to AR8(z).
Stewards also advised James McDonald that they would continue their investigations in relation to the intelligence received and reserved their position to issue additional charges should the evidence establish any further breaches of the Rules of Racing.