A late season suspension has robbed Albury jockey Blaike McDougall of the NSW jockeys premiership.
McDougall looked destined to be a runaway winner of the title before copping a lengthy suspension last month.
Andrew Gibbons overhauled McDougall on Tuesday with the new season starting today.
McDougall said he knew his six week suspension would come back to haunt him.
"Yeah every day, I'd check his (Gibbons) results, I'd check his rides," McDougall told The Daily Advertiser.
"I knew he'd catch me, something quite dramatic would have had to have happened for him not to catch me but you know what, I'm a big believer that things happen for a reason.
"It's not as if I fell off and got injured, it was a self-inflicted suspension and when I got suspended I knew my punishment was not that I got suspended, it was that I was going to lose rides and lose this state premiership.
"I've taken a lot out of it don't you worry. It's very disappointing, I've worked so hard this season and to finish like this, I won't lie, it took me a couple of weeks to get over it. I was pretty down."
IN OTHER NEWS
McDougall took some comfort in being able to win his second successive SDRA title.
He finished with 59 wins to edge out apprentice jockey Tyler Schiller on 56.
Brodie Loy finished third on 40.
McDougall rode 141 winners for the season.