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Double gives James McDonald one-win buffer in jockeys’ premiership race

It was double pleasure for James McDonald as he won the races he was expected to and opened a one-win lead in the jockeys’ premiership at Rosehill on Saturday.
Nanjing Night Net

Alegria, a filly that Godolphin’s trainer John O’Shea gave one more for the title tilt, and Marenostro, an impressive improver that gave champion trainer Chris Waller four wins for the day, made up a winning day for McDonald.

The first man he saw returning to the jockeys’ room after his 90½th winner was Blake Shinn, in his suit.

“Well done mate,” said Shinn, who had scored on Forget earlier in the day to stay only a win away.

“It’s great we are all good mates and may the best man win,” McDonald said. “You see we all get on and to be honest we probably wouldn’t be here if the premiership wasn’t up for grabs. It is in focus now and I think we all would like to win it.”

McDonald strengthened his grip on the premiership he won last year, and is into $1.90 at the Tab南京夜网419论坛 to win the title after starting the day at $2.10.

“I wasn’t planning to come back [from England] and I really didn’t think I would get the chance to do it,” McDonald said.

“It is great to be in a battle like this and now I’m a chance I would like to [win] it but it comes down to the next three meetings.”

Shinn remains a $2.80 chance after his winner, which had a protest withdrawn against it. The incident earned Shinn a reprimand for careless riding.

“It was a good win and when James and Hughie had already won one each I needed it,” Shinn said.  “We are all trying our best and it is about getting the best out of what you are on.

“You can’t control anything else. But it is quite exciting to be in a battle.”

Bowman would need to have a couple of big days to win the title after he fell to 2½ wins behind McDonald, despite the convincing win of Shiraz, which he rode for family friends.

“I’m just doing the best with the opportunities I have got,” Bowman said.

“That was satisfying because the owners know my family and have asked me to ride it before but it didn’t have my weight.

“It has got a bit of upside and it was a bit of a risk sending it down here to be trained but there are better things in store for it.”

Bowman had been on Saturday winners Alegria and Japonisme at their last start but missed out on the rides at Rosehill. He is out to $4.80 to win the premiership.

“It is one of those things that will change once we see the books of each [jockey] next week,” TAB’s Glenn Munsie said. “It is obviously advantage James McDonald after today.

“I think he has the backing of Godolphin and he will be the one that punters will want to back.

“The good thing is they are riding in great form and it will probably go down to the last day.”

Meanwhile, Dwayne Dunn has set the mark for Craig Williams and Damien Oliver to chase in the Melbourne premiership after a winning double at Flemington.

Dunn sits on 57 wins but is suspended for the remainder of the season. A treble for Oliver and a win for Williams have them on 55 wins heading into the final fortnight of the season.

Jockeys’ premiership

James McDonald – 90.5 (winners Alegria, Marenostro)

Blake Shinn – 89.5 (winner Forget)

Hugh Bowman – 88 (winner Shiraz)

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