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James McDonald has ridden his 100th Sydney metropolitan winner for the season
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James McDonald has ridden his 100th Sydney metropolitan winner for the season on the anniversary of his comeback to the saddle after a ban for betting.

Capping an almost seamless return since rebooting his career at the corresponding Warwick Farm meeting last year, McDonald brought up his milestone on the John Thompson-trained Primitivo.

In reaching his century, McDonald became the first jockey since Darren Beadman in 2006-07 to ride 100 Sydney winners in a season.

Beadman rode a record 164 winners that season, his last in Sydney before leaving for Hong Kong.

McDonald was disqualified for 18 months over a betting scandal when he was a retained rider for the Godolphin operation.

He pleaded guilty to having a $1000 bet, placed by a third party, on Astern when the Godolphin colt made a winning debut in December 2015.

The New Zealand jockey fronted an inquiry 12 months later before being slapped with the lengthy ban.

Primitivo won narrowly with McDonald praising his mount’s courage.

“I would have rather have brought my one hundred with a bit more of a margin but, anyway, a win’s a win so it’s a good result,” McDonald said.

“It’s been a wonderful year, a very fast year.”

McDonald has ridden six Group One winners this season, putting him second to Hugh Bowman for elite-level victories.

As Bowman takes a break from racing, McDonald is assured of winning the Sydney jockeys’ premiership for the third time.

Kerrin McEvoy is third on the national Group One list and he also figured among the Warwick Farm winners.

McEvoy rode California Longbow to beat older horses over 2200m with the three-year-old firming as a chance to contest next month’s Queensland Derby.

Co-trainer Paul Snowden reckons the Derby is worth considering and he would have been pleased with McEvoy’s analysis of the win.

“I knew by the way he was travelling he was going to finish well,” McEvoy said.

“He was ready to go as soon as I asked him.

“I was confident over the last furlong (200m) and he was strongest on the line and that opens up options for him going forward.”

 
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