McDonald delighted to be back riding out as 18-month ban nears expiry date
James McDonald rode work at Randwick on Tuesday for the first time since being handed an 18-month ban by Racing New South Wales stewards in December 2016.
McDonald's suspension – which he received after being found guilty of betting A$1,000 (£540) on his own mount Astern – comes to an end on May 15 but, under the terms of his punishment, he was allowed back on the work tab from April 3.
McDonald said: "I've done 12 horses, five different trainers. That’s a good morning. I'm a bit sore and sorry but it’s a good feeling to be back, mixing with everyone again."
The 26-year-old New Zealander expects to ride out for Chris Waller at Rosehill on Thursday before participating in his first barrier trials on Friday.
"My weight is great," said McDonald. "I'm 58kg at the moment and I haven’t even really tried or worried about it. When I was riding before I put plenty of stress on the body but I haven’t had to worry about it and I think that’s helped."
McDonald was one of the rising stars of world racing before the ban, which cost him his retainer with Godolphin in Australia.
His big-race wins include the Champions Mile in Hong Kong aboard Xtension, the Golden Slipper on Mossfun and four Group 1 successes with It's A Dundeel.
McDonald also completed a successful stint in Britain in the summer of 2016, winning the Northumberland Plate for Godolphin on Antiquarium as well as enjoying Group-race success aboard Big Orange and Dutch Connection.
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