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Godolphin pledge support for embattled McDonald

James McDonald: could face a two-year ban
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Godolphin have said they will continue to support jockey James McDonald as he faces charges in Australia relating to either betting on or being involved in a bet on a horse last year.

The Sydney-based rider, who has enjoyed great success both at home and abroad this year, has voluntarily stood himself down from riding until the inquiry is concluded.

McDonald, the number one rider for Godolphin in Australia, could face a two-year ban if found guilty after Racing Australia introduced the mandatory minimum sentence in 2013.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Godolphin acknowledged the Racing New South Wales investigation and said: "[McDonald's] decision to step down from riding, pending the outcome of the investigation, is the right one. We will continue to support him throughout this process.

"Prior to the outcome of the inquiry, and in order not to prejudice the findings, we will make no further comment."

Race in question

The charge against McDonald relates to the debut of the Godolphin-owned Astern, who started his career at Randwick last December.

Racing New South Wales stewards claimed they had received intelligence that McDonald had an interest in a bet on the then juvenile, who made a winning debut, scoring by two and a half lengths.

They conducted an interview with McDonald on Tuesday, which centred around his association with a known punter and the betting activities of that punter.

A date for the inquiry has yet to be set.

His decision to step down from riding, pending the outcome of the investigation, is the right one

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