Jockey James Doyle at Warwick Farm in 2015.
Jockey James Doyle at Warwick Farm in 2015. DEAN LEWINS

Top English jockey to ride for Godolphin down under

GODOLPHIN has announced it will send English jockey James Doyle as a replacement for its No.1 rider in Australia, James McDonald.

Doyle, 28, who has ridden 17 Group 1 winners in four countries, has been with Godolphin since 2014 and ridden for the global operation in Australia on previous occasions.

Godolphin's managing director in Australia, Henry Plumptre, reiterated that Godolphin would support McDonald while stewards in Sydney investigated allegations made against him.

McDonald, 24, stood down from riding voluntarily last week after he was charged by stewards with having an interest in a bet on his mount Astern at Randwick on December 5 last year. Astern firmed from $4.60 to $3.50 and won the race.

"While we continue to support James McDonald over the period of the investigation, we also have a racing stable to run and James Doyle, who is a retained jockey for Godolphin, is one of the best jockeys in the world,” Plumptre said.

"With the winter recess in the UK, he is available to ride in Australia for Godolphin and Sheikh Mohammed and we are delighted to have him.”

Godolphin's Australian trainer, John O'Shea, described Doyle as a "consummate professional”.

"We're blessed to have another world-class rider to step in when needed. James has been a member of our team here in Australia in the past and has always fitted in extremely well,” O'Shea said.

"He's been in good form this season and we're looking forward to having a jockey with his experience joining the team.”

Doyle, who rides at a minimum 55kg, is expected to have his first rides in Sydney in early December.

"I have really enjoyed my visits to Melbourne and Sydney to ride for Godolphin in feature races like the Golden Slipper and Cox Plate over the past two seasons,” Doyle said.

"This is a great opportunity to spend more time in Australia and I am looking forward to the challenge."