McDonald charged with betting offence

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.

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