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An indiscretion costs jockey dearly

James McDonald will pay dearly for an indiscretion that has cost him his riding contract with Godolphin, believed to be $1 million per year, all for the sake of a $1,000 bet.

Surely it must have been in a weak moment, no one throws a million dollars away and the most lucrative job in racing, and copping an 18 months disqualification as well, there is nothing left for him now, he may as well go back to New Zealand.

It will be difficult to pick up the pieces after a disqualification, when your name disappears from race books you are soon forgotten, and the blue silks are worn by someone else.

McDonald came across from New Zealand at about the same age as another boy wonder, the late Keith Voitre in 1933.

McDonald had the world at his feet; he was such a talented young jockey riding for the biggest stable in the world, chasing the major carnivals here in Australia and the United Kingdom.

Sheikh Mohammed is a generous man, he pays his staff well, however, he doesn’t take kindly to gambling, he makes the rules and they have to be accepted.

There can be no excuses, McDonald knew the rules, he is a very talented jockey that made the fatal mistake, he broke the rules.

The pay packets he has received are long gone, he now has to sweat it out for 18 long months, that can be soul destroying for one so young.

Very few jockeys that have suffered a disqualification have returned to their former best, for obvious reasons, they are ostracized from the racing industry where once they received their bread and butter.

No replacement has been mentioned at this stage, Brenton Avdulla and Tim Clark have been doing much of the race riding, until a permanent replacement is found.

Joao Moreira would be given a walk up start, but that is not likely to entice him out of Hong Kong, however, weight of money can work miracles.

As for James McDonald, he has 18 months to decide where life takes him next, not an easy decision to make.


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