McDonald back for another Kranji visit

HELLO SINGAPORE: Top Kiwi jockey James McDonald has been booked by trainer Laurie Laxon to ride Valbuena on Derby Day.

Leading Sydney jockey James McDonald is returning to Singapore for another short-term visit after the Singapore Turf Club granted him a one-day licence to ride at the Emirates Singapore Derby meeting on July 13.

The 22-year-old New Zealander will be at his seventh Kranji riding experience, which has been mostly as a guest rider on the big occasions, with his last visit coming at the same Singapore Derby meeting last year, when he scored on Guided Light.

Trainer Laurie Laxon has booked McDonald to ride VALBUENA in this year's Singapore Derby.

A former champion apprentice and two-time champion jockey in New Zealand, McDonald has more than 900 winners to his name, and smashed his country's record for most wins in a season with a haul of 207 wins in 2010-2011.

Since his first Group 1 win in the 2008 New Zealand Breeders Stakes aboard Special Mission, McDonald has gone on to add 17 more Group 1 wins to his resume, including the 2012 Champions Mile aboard Xtension in Hong Kong, and the latest being the Golden Slipper aboard Mossfun and the Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes aboard It's A Dundeel this year.

After riding successfully in New Zealand, Australia and Hong Kong, McDonald is now firmly established in Sydney, where he is close to landing a first premiership title.

He currently sits second on the Sydney jockeys' premiership, two wins behind Nash Rawiller, who has just begun a two-month contract in Japan.

McDonald goes to scale at 54kg.