Blake Shinn joins James McDonald at top of premiership

Blake Shinn has drawn level with James McDonald at the top of the Sydney jockeys’ premiership in a tough first day back at the races for the Godolphin rider.

McDonald only returned from a five-week riding stint in England on Tuesday and was propelled straight back into the action with six rides at Warwick Farm, less than 24 hours later.

He was unable to add to his tally of 88-1/2 winners while title rivals Shinn and Hugh Bowman snared a victory apiece, Shinn’s success on the Chris Waller-trained Rockolicious giving him a share of the premiership lead.

It also gave McDonald an insight into the fight he faces during the final four meetings of the season.

“It’s going to be very tough,” McDonald said of his premiership battle.

“At least I’m not going to die wondering. I’m here competing and if I get beaten at least I gave it my best shot.”

McDonald’s title hopes almost came undone aboard the horse considered his best chance of a Warwick Farm victory.

He found himself in the stewards room for shifting in aboard beaten favourite Cabalistic near the 1000m in the TAB Rewards Handicap, inconveniencing Shinn’s mount Ashkannd.

The top jockey admitted he rode a fine line and was relieved when stewards let him off with a reprimand.

“Stewards considered a careless riding charge and it’s by a narrow margin you avoided that,” presiding steward Greg Rudolph said.

“I hope England didn’t teach you any bad manners.”

Shinn gave Waller the second leg of an early double with his victory on Rockolicious who was having just her second start and first since November.

Shinn believes the three-year-old can progress to better races.

“She was against more seasoned horses and that indicated she’s got a lot of ability by winning here today,” Shinn said.

“I think mentally she’s got a long way to go but she’s got the frame, she’s very well bred, I think she’s got a great future.”

Bowman had to wait until the final race to get on the scoreboard, his victory on Shadow Lord breaking a run of metropolitan outs for trainer Joe Pride.

Pride had saddled up more than 50 runners since his last winner in town and was glad to break the drought.

“I’ve never been so happy to win a midweeker,” Pride said.

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