It isn’t often that a horse gets to stroll around in an HK$820,000 barrier trial but Chad Schofield indicated he won’t be even a little bit shy about collecting his percentage for winning on Richard Gibson-trained griffin Lucky Master on Sunday.
With the three-year-old backed down from 1.3 to 1.1, Lucky Master looked an over the line proposition against a field of horses he had beaten home comfortably twice before and Schofield was able to sit up and coast in the final 100m and still post a four-length margin.
“It’s funny for him to win a race like that – even though it wasn’t a very strong race,” Schofield said.
“I rode Lucky Master the first time he trialled in February and he was slow out, last all the way and beaten out of sight, maybe 30 lengths. I came back in and said to Richard the horse was just hopeless. But he has improved so much, full credit to Richard and his team.”
In his two starts at 1,000m, Lucky Master had found Amusing City and Hot King Prawn too sharp but so had Sunday’s rivals. With nothing special in the race, Lucky Master had his opportunity stepping up to 1,200m and took control.
“I know I only jogged along in front but I thought he quickened up well when I asked him,” Schofield said. “I think he’ll be better next season and I think there is definitely something to work with.”
While Gibson’s woes with the Jockey Club benchmarks are well behind him, Michael Chang Chun-wai is one trainer still grappling with meeting the performance criteria and Dragon Master (Olivier Doleuze) took him one step closer in the Koowloon Cricket Club Centenary Cup, his fourth straight 1,000m win.
“This horse is not easy, his handicap is complicated because he always has the big weight in Class Three but struggles a little if he goes to next class,” said Doleuze.
“And he doesn’t turn very well, so he has to wait for the straight. Today the track wasn’t so hard, which helped him to stretch out, and I’m happy for Michael. I want to help him get the three more wins he needs.”