James McDonald with seven chances for Royal Ascot glory

Local trainers have taken the chance to book star jockey James McDonald to ride their horses while he’s at Royal Ascot to ride gun sprinters Nature Strip and Home Affairs.Riding Australian superstars Nature Strip and Home Affairs won’t be star jockey James McDonald’s only commitments during the Royal Ascot carnival.McDonald has a total of seven bookings at the Royal meeting.McDonald will ride Nature Strip in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes (5f) on Tuesday night and Home Affairs in Saturday’s Group 1 Platinum Jubilee Stakes (6f).Bookmakers say Nature Strip is easily McDonald’s best chance to ride an Ascot winner, posting him as a 15/8 ($2.85) chance.Home Affairs has firmed from 9/2 to 4/1 in all-in betting on the Platinum Jubilee Stakes.UK trainer Hugo Palmer has snapped up McDonald to ride three-year-old colt Hierarchy (50/1) in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup (6f) on Friday.Hierarchy has won two of seven starts but ran second at Group 3 level at Ascot in April.McDonald will rekindle a partnership with New Zealand racing tycoon Sir Peter Vela when he rides Tasman Bay in the Listed Wolferton Stakes on Tuesday.Another Kiwi, the showjumping great Sir Mark Todd trains Tasman Bay for Vela. Tasman Bay has won once in seven starts but ran second to Alenquer at Group 2 level during last year’s Royal Ascot carnival. Tasman Bay has been gelded since his last run. Local bookies have Tasman Bay at 14/1 for his first-up assignment.McDonald’s sole ride on Wednesday will be the Charles Hills-trained Dark Shift, an 8/1 chance to win the Royal Hunt Cup.Thursday will be McDonald’s busiest day at Ascot.McDonald rides Asgoodassobergets (20/1) in the King George V Stakes, Mr McCann (25/1) in the Britannia Stakes and Tanmawwy (12/1), also from the Hills stable, in the Buckingham Palace Stakes.Originally published as James McDonald with seven chances for Royal Ascot glory