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A four-timer at Randwick including the Listed Carrington Stakes on Ninth Legion is not enough to convince James McDonald he can defend his Sydney premiership.

McDonald said unlike last year when he concentrated on the title, he was more likely to head overseas after the autumn carnival.

His quartet took him to 45-1/2 winners for the season, 6-1/2 behind Hugh Bowman who had one winner, Tahitian Black, on Saturday.

Blake Shinn is Bowman’s likely challenger, nipping at his heels on 49-1/2 after winning on Zin Zan Eddie.

“I don’t think I can win it and anyway I won it last year,” McDonald said.

“But seriously I will probably go overseas after the carnival.”

His carnival horses could include Haptic, an impressive winner of the two-year-old race for Godolphin and Ninth Legion, the Carrington Stakes winner.

The Hawkes training partnership had no luck with Ninth Legion last year with wet tracks going against him.

But with conditions to suit at Randwick on Saturday, Ninth Legion ($6) came along the fence to take the lead from the $2.30 favourite That’s A Good Idea to beat him by 1-3/4 lengths in the Carrington (1400m).

“I was on the back of the favourite and the gap was always going to open up,” McDonald said.

“He didn’t have a lot of luck last preparation with wet tracks.

“This was his first time on a firm track for some time and it really helps him.”

McDonald’s other winners were Centre Pivot and Mihiri but Haptic was the one to catch the eye.

The colt became the eighth individual juvenile winner for Sheikh Mohammed’s Australian operation and he wll step out again next month.

McDonald will return home to New Zealand on Sunday to ride at the Karaka Millions meeting at Ellerslie.

Fellow Australian jockeys Damian Browne, Tommy Berry, Jason Collett and Bowman are also making the trip.

 
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