Leading hoop James McDonald claimed outright victory in the 2013/2014 Sydney Jockeys Premiership by steering Bascule to victory in the Testa Rossa at Vinery Handicap (1200m) at Warwick Farm this afternoon.
McDonald went into the final metropolitan meeting of the 2013/2014 racing season needing just one win to pull clear of Nash Rawiller in the race for the Premiership title and he wasted little time getting the key victory on the board.
Bascule was settled just behind the leader Alu Alu in the early stages of the Testa Rossa At Vinery Handicap and received a lovely trial into the race before being asked for an extra effort by McDonald coming into the straight.
The Thorn Park colt took a while to get past Alu Alu, but he hit the front at the 150 metre mark and he held off the fast-finishing Liberty Island and Chrysolaus to give McDonald the Premiership.
McDonald admitted that he was feeling the pressure heading into the Warwick Farm meeting this afternoon and told the media after the race that he was delighted to have claimed his maiden premiership.
“It is big relief, especially to get it over and done with early in the day,” McDonald said.
“There has been a bit of pressure and although I rode a winner last Saturday, I didn’t want to share the title, I wanted to win it on my own so it is pleasing to do that.
“It is an honour to win the premiership and have my name up there with the legends that have achieved it in the past.
“It was also good to do it on a Kiwi horse for a Kiwi (Chris Waller).
“I’ve also got to thank my manager Craig Thompson.
“He has been a great help and I wouldn’t be in this position without him.”
McDonald completed a double when imported German stayer Ay No Digas scored a narrow win over Hirokin and Carry On Singing in the Quaddie Handicap (2200m) at Warwick Farm in the fourth race of the day.
The victory was Ay No Digas’ first metropolitan victory since he arrived in Australia earlier this year and his second straight win after he scored a dominant win at Muswellbrook on July 7.
McDonald recorded four wins at the highest level of racing during the 2013/2014 racing season; taking out the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) and Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) with It’s A Dundeel, Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) with Mossfun and the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) with Rising Romance.