James McDonald went toad racing in tropical far north Queensland on his last holiday but is about to jet off on a European odyssey he will never forget.

But McDonald is plotting to make off with the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap – a race he has never won – before jetting out of Brisbane bound for London on Saturday night to start the adventure of a lifetime.

McDonald said he is looking forward to everything which awaits him in Europe – and not just riding “wrecking ball” Chris Waller sprinters Nature Strip and Home Affairs at Royal Ascot.

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From the time he flies out of Brisbane on Saturday night, McDonald will be away from Australia for about a month and the second part of that period is a much-needed holiday with his longtime partner Katelyn Mallyon.

The last time McDonald had a holiday he was inadvertently caught up in a stewards investigation in regard to Covid-19 protocols after he and Hugh Bowman were filmed taking part in cane toad races at a Port Douglas hotel in July last year.

“My last holiday was toad racing in Port Douglas, so I can’t wait to have a break,” McDonald said.

“Firstly, I am looking forward to going to Ascot for one of the greatest racing carnivals in the world and having two absolute wrecking ball horses to compete with.

“Just to be part of that carnival is great and it’s a bonus to have hot chances.

“After that, we are off to Ireland, Madrid, Barcelona, Mykonos, Sardinia, Geneva and then home.

“I will be away a total of just over a month, I think.

“Once the racing is finished, I will try to totally switch off from racing and just have a holiday.”

James McDonald after winning the last year’s The Everest on Nature Strip. Picture: AFP
First things first though, and McDonald is stoked to be riding Laws Of Indices in Saturday’s Stradbroke for Annabel Neasham.

The champion jockey will be striving for his 65th Group 1 win and his fourth in the Sunshine State.

McDonald contacted Neasham asking to ride Laws Of Indices when the former import powered home strongly in the Group 1 Kingsford-Smith Cup won by Apache Chase.

READ: Stradbroke Handicap preview and tips: Runner-by-runner guide

“I think this horse is going really well and up an extra 100m in the Stradbroke will suit,” McDonald said.

“I’ve think we are in the race with a great chance.”

Laws Of Indices, a Group 1 winner in his former home in France, is a $16 Stradbroke chance and has drawn barrier 13.

Laws Of Indices will appreciate the firm racing surface he is likely to get at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

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