Sydney based Kiwi rider James McDonald gets his chance to wrap up the Sydney jockey’s premiership with a handy book of rides at Canterbury on Wednesday.
McDonald on sixty-nine winners, needs two winners with three meetings to go to overhaul front runner Nash Rawiller, seventy winners, who is riding in Japan on a short term contract giving McDonald a free rein to the tile.
But McDonald was in the same situation last Saturday at Rosehill but failed to ride a winner and was lucky to escape a suspension when stewards deemed that it wasn’t his fault that the John O’Shea trained Imperil shifted at the 1200m hampering Jeff Lloyd on Paederos in the Alpha Flight Services.
A second on My Sabeel in the Hungry Jack’s Handicap was the closest McDonald got to the winner’s stall from his six rides.
“I thought it was going to come on Saturday for a fleeting moment,” McDonald told The Daily Telegraph.
“My Sabeel was my longest shot of the day but she ended up being my best result. That told the story of my day.”
“You can only do what you can do, but it will be good once I get the win.”
McDonald has five rides at Canterbury and Warwick Farm trainer David Vandyke is hoping he can give him a winner with Emerald City in the TAB Quaddie Handicap (1900m).
Emerald City is stepping up from a Class 1 Kembla Grange win on July 8 and McDonald takes over from Blake Shinn who steered the Bernadini gelding to a six and three quarter lengths victory but Vandyke can see a wide barrier as a slight hurdle.
“He’s a lovely horse but he has to overcome a wide barrier,” Vandyke said.
“I’ll leave that up to J McDonald. He’s good at that sort of thing.”
McDonald kicks off his day with two year old Khaptivata in the More Than Ready Handicap (1250m) for trainer Bjorn Baker and the Mossman gelding is shaping up for his second race start after finishing fifth in a 1000m Maiden at Kembla Grange on July 8.
Chris Waller will saddle up Loophole for McDonald in the Cellarbrations Handicap (1900m) then Team Hawkes will provide the young jockey with his final two rides for day on Cleansing Ale in the Ranvet Handicap (1550m) and Idance in the theraces.com.au Handicap (1100m).
“There is still a long way to go, but we won’t die wondering and we will be having a go,” McDonald said.
“It sounds easier than it looks, but it is going to be a tough ask and hopefully we will get there.”
McDonald has had a stellar year and was the star of the Sydney Autumn Carnival collecting three Group 1 winners.
Team Hawkes and McDonald combined to win the Group 1 $3.5m Tooheys New Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill with Mossfun.
McDonald then cleaned up on the second day of ‘The Championships’ at Randwick with wins on Rising Romance in the Group 1 $1m Seven News Australian Oaks (2400m) and It’s A Dundeel in the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).