McDonald has high hopes for 1000 Guineas

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PJ McDonald is hopeful of winning his first outing in the Qipco 1000 Guineas aboard Laurens at Newmarket on Sunday.

The 35-year-old jockey has worked his way to the top and is now fully focused on trying to win a first Classic when he partners the Karl Burke-trained three-year-old.

McDonald has enjoyed success in the Scottish Grand National with Hot Weld in 2007 and claimed a debut Grade One race win with Laurens in the Fillies’ Mile.

And, looking ahead to racing with the daughter of Siyouni at Newmarket this weekend, McDonald said: “I can’t wait, I’m very excited. I’ve waited such a long time for this and it might never happen again in my career.

“For me, this could be a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m going to make sure I grab it with both hands.

“I’ve ridden in plenty of good, competitive races, but I’ve never ridden in the Guineas. I’m ready for it. This is what it’s all about. It’s the reason we travel the miles we do, all looking for that one good horse.

“I’ve been riding in races since I was 16 and I’m now 35 and this is the first time one has come along for me.”

On those who doubt Laurens’ ability to last the distance, McDonald added: “We feel like she has definitely improved physically. She was a very mentally sound horse as a two-year-old and was pretty much chilled out. Physically, she has definitely filled up into her frame and looks like a beast now.

“She only just saw it out in the Fillies’ Mile, but we always thought she would be a mile or mile-plus horse in the future.”

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