Jockey Chad Schofield faces a race against time to make the weight for his plum ride on rising star Glorious Forever this Sunday at Sha Tin.
The 24-year-old will ride the Frankie Lor Fu-chuen-trained gelding in the Group Three Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse (1,800m) for the first time in race conditions after Zac Purton was able to win three races in a row with him.
Schofield however, who has a usual riding weight of 115 pounds, concedes he may not be able to shed enough weight to reach the 113-pound bottom weight.
As a full brother to dual Group One winner Time Warp, many have been quick to draw comparisons between the pair with their bold front-running styles.
With Purton riding at 120 pounds, the door has opened for Schofield to make a good impression on the horse as he steps up to Group level for the first time.
Such has been the dominance of his past three starts, Glorious Forever has a combined winning margin of almost nine lengths, including a Sha Tin 2,000m track record last season where he wiped almost half a second off the previous mark, which was set in Time Warp’s incredible Group One Hong Kong Gold Cup victory.
“I’m really happy to pick up a nice up-and-coming horse like him, he couldn’t have been any more impressive in his runs so far,” Schofield said.
“He looks like a big stayer who is only going to keep getting better, he will carry the minimum weight against the best horses in Hong Kong so it will be interesting to see how he measures up.”
With hopes of running in the Longines Hong Kong Cup in December, Glorious Forever will have to prove he is up to the level against the likes of Pakistan Star and Time Warp.
Having only ridden at 113 twice in his Hong Kong career, Schofield said he would not sacrifice his strength to reach the weight.
“If I feel I can get down to the 113, I will certainly try,” he said.
“I will just see how we go but as long as I am feeling good for the race, that is the main thing.
“It’s a matter of sticking to the normal routine, the weather is nice at the moment so I will be able to go out for a sweat and try to get the weight down.”
With Time Warp the only other likely on-pace runner in the race, Schofield expects he will roll forward on Glorious Forever and try to run the others off their feet in the process.
“Off his times and sectionals that he can run, with the light weight here, you’d think he’d be pretty hard to beat,” he said.
“I’ll speak to Frankie, but that seems to be the way he races best, I know Time Warp is in the race, but he will be up there for sure with his light weight.”
Schofield said he wasn’t feeling any extra pressure that comes with picking up the ride on the potential star.
“I have trialled him very early on before his first start in Hong Kong but I haven’t ridden him since,” he said. “I am just looking forward to it really, I am rapt to have the opportunity, so I will go out there to make it count.”