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James McDonald will be out to capitalise on a stellar book of rides at Randwick

Premier jockey James McDonald will be out to capitalise on a stellar book of rides at Randwick where he will be aboard four of the nine early favourites.

While his Group One mount Verry Elleegant has been deposed as the top fancy for her return in the Winx Stakes (1400m) on Saturday, Desert Path, New King, Funstar and Kinane all head betting for their respective assignments.

The Sydney jockeys’ premiership winner for the past two seasons, McDonald has ridden eight winners so far this term to trail Tommy Berry by two.

If early markets have got it right, McDonald could have his nose in front after Saturday.

With title rival Nash Rawiller suspended, McDonald has also picked up the plum ride on stakes winner Sweet Deal, who resumes for John Thompson in the Listed Toy Show Quality (1100m).

The mare has continued to improve with age and Thompson believes she has gone up another notch this spring.

“We have tried to keep her fresh for this 1100, it might be a bit short for her but I think she’s in for a great prep,” Thompson said.

“She ran great her first couple of runs last time in then she hit a couple of heavy tracks. She is just going really well and James McDonald jumps on board, there is none better.”

A dual Group Three winner, Sweet Deal will face nine rivals headed by progressive mare Adelong who returns from a successful winter preparation to chase her first black-type win.

Thompson is hoping to see a drying track for his charge and while he is yet to lock down a spring plan, he says Sweet Deal will stick to races against her own sex.

“I don’t know where we will end up but there are plenty of options for her,” he said.

“All being well, hopefully we get some good tracks for her and she can go to a higher level again.”

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