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McDonald claims outright premiership win
Warwick Barr
18:07 AEST Wed Jul 30 2014

A rare winner for leading trainer Chris Waller turned into an historic one for New Zealand jockey James McDonald at Warwick Farm on Wednesday.

McDonald, rated one of the brightest talents in the saddle in world racing, claimed his first Sydney jockeys' premiership at the final meeting of the 2013-2014 season.

He went into the program equal on 70 winners with Nash Rawiller but desperate to own the title in his own right.

And after one of his mounts was scratched on race morning, McDonald was left with only three chances to add the Sydney premiership to his two New Zealand championships.

He needed only one ride to seal the title.

And while the result didn't sit well with rank-and-file punters as he brought the $19 chance Bascule home for Waller in the Testa Rossa @ Vinery Handicap, McDonald was thankful the win came sooner rather than later.

"It's a relief to get the win early because I didn't want to have to think about it all day," McDonald said.

"I believe it is a real honour to win and I really can't believe my luck."

Bascule's victory was McDonald's sixth winner from 30 rides during the season for Waller, the dominant trainer in Sydney.

But they could strike again as soon as the first meeting of the new season when McDonald rides the Waller-trained He's Your Man in the Winter Challenge at Rosehill on Saturday.

Waller said McDonald's achievement shouldn't be understated in a racing environment as competitive as any around the globe.

"I know what he goes through with the pressure of Sydney racing day in and day out," Waller said.

Waller extended his runaway trainers' premiership margin with Bascule, a horse sourced as part of a package of yearlings purchased because of their staying pedigrees.

"I got a group of owners together to buy six yearlings and he's the first winner of a really promising lot," Waller said.

Kris Lees provided McDonald with his second winner of the afternoon when Ay No Digas narrowly took out the TAB Quaddie Handicap.

PAST FIVE SYDNEY JOCKEYS' PREMIERSHIPS

2013-2014 - James McDonald

2012-2013 - Nash Rawiller

2011-2012 - Hugh Bowman

2010-2011 - Nash Rawiller

2009-2010 - Nash Rawiller

JAMES MCDONALD'S 2013-2014 SEASON

Age: 22

Sydney winners: 72

Australia-wide winners: 126

Group Ones: Golden Slipper (Mossfun), Queen Elizabeth Stakes (It's A Dundeel), ATC Australian Oaks (Rising Romance), Underwood Stakes (It's A Dundeel).