Blaike McDougall is making strides towards winning the 2019/20 NSW jockeys premiership after taking a commanding lead on the state-wide leaderboard.
McDougall was the first NSW jockey to crack 100 wins this season and currently sits on 110 ½ wins, which is well clear of Aaron Bullock (97), Greg Ryan (92 ½ ) and Nash Rawiller (85).
The 25-year-old, who was NSW’s leading country apprentice jockey in 2018/19, is happy with his start to the season and is now focused on winning the overall title.
“I always plan to ride 100 (winners) per season and we have already done that and my manager thinks I can ride 150,” McDougall said.
“To win the premiership I think I will have to at least 120-130 (winners), so I just need to keep my head down and focus on what is in front of me.”
McDougall is using a friendly rivalry with NSW legend and leading country jockey Greg Ryan as motivation to finish atop of both the NSW-wide and NSW country premierships.
“After winning the country apprentice title last year, one of my main goals was knock someone like Greg Ryan off the top, he has been the best for so long and it would be good to see someone push him for the title,” McDougall said.
The Albury-based jockey didn’t have eyes on the NSW jockey premiership title early in the season though, with Aaron Bullock blazing an almighty path and at one stage was 40 wins ahead of his nearest rival.
“After Aaron Bullock came out and road 90 odd winners is less than 5 months, I kind of forgot about it all,” McDougall said.
“He then stopped riding and we caught up, but in all honestly, he deserves an award for how many winners he got in that period, it was unbelievable.”
McDougall, who has since finished his apprenticeship, hasn’t really been tied down with any one trainer either, and has taken his opportunities as they have come along.
“Now that I am a senior I do my own thing, I was obviously doing a lot of riding for Hayes, Hayes and Dabernig and around Canberra I ride for Keith Dryden but I try not to attach myself and my manager picks out my rides,” McDougall said.
The popular Southern District jockey put the exclamation mark on a great start to a season last Thursday and Friday, winning his second Tye Angland medal as the leading jockey over the Wagga Gold Cup carnival.
“It was a big honour to win it for the second year in a row,” McDougall said.
“Tye (Angland) has always been a good bloke and was really good to all of us apprentices in Sydney, he wasn’t up himself and always took time to chat with us and it is a privilege to win the award.”
Unfortunately, McDougall now faces a suspension after his winning ride on Foxborough in the Murrumbidgee Turf Club Guineas, giving competitors a chance to make some ground on the in-form hoop.
“I got suspended from May 11 to May 20 the other day, it wasn’t great and means someone like Greg Ryan can start catching back up,” McDougall said.
“I’ll just have to work extra hard when I do get back.”