‘She’s very, very quick’ – jockey bullish about Australian Royal Ascot double raid

New Zealander James McDonald is a jockey based in Australia and he’s brimming with confidence ahead of Royal Ascot next month. Winner of the King’s Stand Stakes last year aboard runaway winner Nature Strip, he believes there’s a couple of other emerging sprinters who could prove too hot for the home team to handle. McDonald is confident that both the King’s Stand Stakes and the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes will be won by the Aussies. Check out our free tips page for daily content across British and Irish racing.

‘She is one of the fastest fillies in the land’

Coolangatta (9-2, King’s Stand Stakes) is fast becoming one to look out for in the Australian sprinting scene. McDonald could hardly have been more complimentary of her and the potential heights that she could reach. The Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained filly won the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning at Flemington when last seen and McDonald was very impressed.

McDonald said: “She is one of the fastest fillies in the land over here. She’s a five-furlong specialist and very, very quick and very talented. She won the Lightning Stakes in February, which is one of the fastest races up the straight at Flemington, so there’ll be no dramas up the straight at Ascot and she beat a high-class field that day. She had a subsequent TJ Smith winner behind her and Nature Strip was also behind her and we all know what he did at Ascot last year. She’s highly talented and lightly raced, and just very good.”

‘He’s in career-best form’

Artorius (7-1, Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes) finished third in the corresponding race last year and didn’t get the smoothest of passages through the race. McDonald is confident that Anthony and Sam Freedman’s colt will arrive in even better form than last year.

He added: “He’s in career-best form. I think he goes into the race in better form this year and his last two starts have been fantastic. He’ll be very hard to beat and I think that experience travelling up there before will help him go well again, so he’s got a really good chance.”

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