James McDonald will need just one win at the final metropolitan meeting of the 2013/2014 racing season at Warwick Farm on Wednesday to secure the Sydney Jockeys’ Premiership.
McDonald took a share of the lead on the Jockeys’ Premiership Ladder when he steered Reigning to victory in the Carnival On Sale Now Handicap (1800m) at Randwick on Saturday and with rival Nash Rawiller still riding in Japan, the young hoop requires just a single victory to steal an outright premiership win.
The leading jockey can give himself a stress free day by taking out the opening race on the card and he has been booked to ride lightly-raced three-year-old Moral Compass in the Early Quaddie Maiden Plate (1600m).
The Henrythenavigator filly performed well in two barrier trials at Scone and Gosford before she made her racing debut with a credible third in the Melanie’s Matthews Jewellers Maiden (1300m) at Scone on July 18.
Leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller has booked McDonald on both Hero I Am and Bascule for the second race on the Warwick Farm card, but is expected to scratch Hero I Am after the Hussonet colt drew towards the outside of the Testa Rossa At Vinery Handicap (1200m).
McDonald is without a ride in the third race of the day, but will have the opportunity to claim premiership victory when he partners Ay No Digas in the Quaddie Handicap (220m).
The imported stayer has had just two race starts in Australia, but was most impressive in the Hunter Belle Cheese Plate (1750m) at Muswellbrook on July 7 and is expected to start the Quaddie Handicap as one of the favourites.
Kris Lees has also booked McDonald on Flying Jet in The Races.com.au Handicap (1600m), but the Jet Spur mare has not recorded a race win since she took out the Tox Free Plate (1400m) at Eagle Farm on October 26 last year.
McDonald will have his last chance to secure outright premiership glory when he partners Darley filly Aspen in the Declaration Of War At Coolmore Handicap (1300m).
Aspen has scored just two wins from her 14 race starts to date, but the daughter of Exceed And Excel has performed well in her two race starts this preparation; finishing eighth in the Hyland Race Colours Handicap (1200m) at Canterbury on July 9 before recovering from a poor start to finish fourth in the Early Quaddie Handicap (1200m) at the same venue on July 23.
The Sydney Jockeys’ Premiership has not finished in a tie since 1935.