James McDonald
Age: 32
Background:
Regarded as one of the world’s best jockeys, James McDonald made a big impression in Hong Kong on his IJC debut when still a teenager back in 2011, finishing runner-up to Frankie Dettori. He returned the following May and partnered Xtension to victory in the 2012 Champions Mile at Sha Tin. Champion Apprentice in his homeland, he went on to claim the Championship there twice, firstly in 2008/09 and latterly with a New Zealand record tally of 207 for the 2010/11 season. In 2012 he won a first New Zealand Derby. He clinched his first Sydney Championship in 2014, bagged a second in 2015/16 and has since added three more. He now has over 80 Group 1 wins and over 2,000 career wins. In 2021, he won the Melbourne Cup – Australia’s most famous race – aboard Verry Elleegant, Darley Sprint Classic with Nature Strip, Coolmore Stud Stakes atop Home Affairs and Mackinnon Stakes with Zaaki. He scored a famous victory aboard Nature Strip in the 2022 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, and was crowned the World’s Best Jockey that same year. McDonald capped 2022 with victory in the Hong Kong Cup atop Romantic Warrior, before winning the QEII Cup and W.S. Cox Plate in 2023 aboard that same horse. He also rode Lucky Sweynesse to victory in the 2023 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup. He recently took out a Classic double at Flemington, winning the Victoria Derby and VRC Oaks.
Achievements Include:
Sydney Champion Jockey (2013/14, 2015/16, 2018/19, 2019/20, 2020/21, 2021/22); New Zealand Champion Apprentice (2007/08, 2008/09, 2009/10, 2010/11), New Zealand Champion Jockey (2008/09, 2010/11).
Notable Wins Include:
Hong Kong Cup (2022 Romantic Warrior), Champions Mile (2012 Xtension), QEII Cup (2023 Romantic Warrior), Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (2023 Lucky Sweynesse), Melbourne Cup (2021 Verry Elleegant), Golden Slipper (2014 Mossfun), W.S. Cox Plate (2022 Anamoe, 2023 Romantic Warrior), King’s Stand Stakes (2022 Nature Strip), Caulfield Guineas (2014 Shooting To Win, 2018 The Autumn Sun, 2022 Golden Mile), Golden Rose (2015 Exosphere, 2016 Astern), Victoria Derby (2023 Riff Rocket), Australian Derby (2013 It’s A Dundeel), New Zealand Derby (2012 Silent Achiever), VRC Oaks (2023 Zardozi), TJ Smith Stakes (2020, 2021, 2022 Nature Strip), Coolmore Stud Stakes (2021 Home Affairs, 2022 In Secret), Australian Oaks (2014 Rising Romance, 2019 Verry Elleegant), Rosehill Guineas (2013 It’s A Dundeel, 2022 Anamoe), The Galaxy (2012 Temple Of Boom, 2019 Nature Strip), Tancred Stakes (2015 Hartnell, 2019 Avilius, 2020 Verry Elleegant), Thousand Guineas (2022 Madame Pommery, 2023 Joliestar), Epsom Handicap (2016 Hauraki), New Zealand Oaks (2009 Jungle Rocket), Ranvet Stakes (2015 Contributer, 2021 Verry Elleegant).
Hong Kong Career Wins (as of 22 November, 2023):
14

23/24 Season         Up to Race Meeting of 28/02/2024
Nationality : NZ No. of Wins : 20 Total Rides : 117
Stakes won : $69,697,345 No. of 2nds : 13 Win % : 17.09%
No. of Wins in past 10 race days : 3 No. of 3rds : 11
No. of 4ths : 18

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