McDonald keeps lead in premiership race

By: Mark Mazzaglia
July 20th, 2015

Last season’s leading jockey James McDonald maintains his lead in the Sydney jockey’s premiership with a winning double at Rosehill last Saturday.

James McDonald, above, has maintained his lead in the Sydney jockeys premiership with a winning double at Rosehill. Photo by Daniel Costello.

James McDonald, above, has maintained his lead in the Sydney jockeys premiership with a winning double at Rosehill. Photo by Daniel Costello.

McDonald took his 2014 – 2015 winning tally to 90.5 winners with wins on the John O’Shea trained Alegria in the $85,000 Ladbrokes.com.au BenchMark 74 Handicap and on Marenostro for Chris Waller in the $85,000 Forum Group BenchMark 78 Handicap (1500m).

The talented Kiwi rider has been off the Sydney scene for the last six weeks while riding in England for Godolphin but had established a healthy winning break before he left for overseas.

MacDonald said that he was happy to be back in Australia riding winners chasing his second premiership  trophy.

“It’s good to be back and good to be winning,’’ McDonald told The Sunday Telegraph.

“And great to be doing it for two champion trainers.’’

O’Shea has a high opinion of Alegria but admits that he kept the Medaglia D’Oro filly in work to help McDonald in his premiership pursuit.

“If James wasn’t in this predicament Alegria would probably be in the paddock now,’’ O’Shea said.

“We kept her going for this race hoping she could help James out.

“She was able to do that and this filly can go out for a break now a winner.

“I feel she is an exceptionally talented filly and will only get better as she gets older. There is no doubt in my mind she is up to stakes class.’’

Blake Shinn and Hugh Bowman who are both chasing McDonald in the premiership stakes each rode a winner at Rosehill.

Shinn took his tally to 89.5 with a win on the Kim Waugh trained Forget in the $85,000 Hungry Jacks BenchMark 75 Handicap (1350m) while Bowman saluted on Shiraz for trainer Tony McEvoy in the $85,000 Primo Smallgoods BenchMark 90 Handicap (1200m) to record his 88th metropolitan win for the season.

Talented apprentice Winona Costin took her season’s winning tally to forty with a win on the smart Berry Delicious for trainer Jason Coyle in the $85,000 Alpha Flight Services BenchMark 85 Handicap (1350m).

Costin has the Sydney apprentices premiership wrapped up with a commanding lead over second placed Brodie Loy on sixteen wins.

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