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Sun 15 Mar 2015 10:35 AM

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Dubai’s Godolphin signs global contract with top New Zealand jockey

"I am very thankful to Sheikh Mohammed for the chance to further my career in this direction,” James McDonald said

Dubai’s Godolphin signs global contract with top New Zealand jockey
James McDonald. (Getty Images)

New Zealand jockey James McDonald has signed a global contract with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Godolphin operation, it was announced at the weekend.

McDonald was already the first choice for Godolphin Australia head trainer John O’Shea this season, but the deal means the Dubai ruler's operation will have a retainer on the jockey and first call in any races he takes part in worldwide, according to the Racing.com website.

“We felt the time was right to formalise our arrangement with James,” Godolphin’s John Ferguson was quoted as saying.

“He is a first-class jockey, as we all know, but having him under retainer gives us the opportunity to use him not just in Australia but in Europe as well.

"We would like him to join William Buick and James Doyle later in the year when the Derby trials are run in May and Epsom and Royal Ascot take place in June.

McDonald added: "I am delighted to have signed for Godolphin, not only in order to continue our great association in Australia, but also for the opportunity to ride for the stable for a short time in Britain when commitments allow... I am very thankful to Sheikh Mohammed for the chance to further my career in this direction.”

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