Chad Schofield was reunited with his “favourite” Hong Kong horse on Saturday, with the likeable jockey taking out the Class One Panasonic Cup (1,400m) aboard Rattan.
It was Schofield’s fourth win from nine starts aboard the Richard Gibson-trained five-year-old, while they’ve also teamed up for four seconds.
“He’s a favourite horse of mine and we get on very well,” Schofield said. “He’s been a great horse to me, I haven’t ridden him his last few starts but I’m very happy to get back on him.”
Another win on Rattan had Schofield reminiscing about the David Hayes-trained Whisper Downs, who he won with seven times in Australia between September 2012 and May 2013.
Trainer Richard Gibson raises his bat for 200 winners in Hong Kong as Rattan and @SchofieldChad land a dramatic Panasonic Cup. Conte gives his all in second with Little Giant a fine third after being forced to travel wide. #HKracing pic.twitter.com/qcvgKzkYDL— HKJC Racing (@HKJC_Racing) November 10, 2018
Rattan’s win handed Gibson his 200th Hong Kong winner, but the Englishman wasn’t at the track to celebrate the milestone having returned to Europe for the week.
“I’m very happy to ride another winner for Richard,” Schofield said. “We drew barrier eight but he jumped very quickly and he got himself into a lovely spot.
“Everything went really well for us today. He’s a versatile horse, he can sit back and come with a big run or he can jump fast and take a midfield position. He’s a very easy horse to ride.”
After travelling midfield, Rattan stormed home to reel in the leaders and Schofield said he will now head to the Class One Chevalier Cup (1,600m) on November 25.
“He’s improved a lot, he’s a very good horse,” he said. “I thought heading into the [Hong Kong] Derby [in March] he was a live chance but he just didn’t quite get the trip. But over the 1,400m to a mile, he’s got a very good turn of foot and he’s a very good horse.”
Schofield was visibly thrilled with the victory on his way back to the winner’s stall, having edged out impressive pair Conte and Little Giant, and champion jockey Zac Purton.
“It’s nice to get up and beat Zac,” he said with a smile after being outpointed by Purton in last weekend’s Sa Sa Ladies’ Purse.
Conte finished second to add to his impressive record, while Little Giant was close in third and trainer David Hall wouldn’t rule out a trip to the Longines Hong Kong International Races, whether in the 1,200m sprint or the mile.
“I think you have to say it all came down to the barrier,” Hall said. “You can only imagine how much closer Little Giant would have been early on with stall three rather than 10 and I have to think he could have won with the box-seat run.
“It’s not the perfect scenario to think about going into Group One company after a defeat, but if he’d won today we would almost have been forced to go to one of the international races.
“Let’s see what the owners have to say but put it this way, the question of whether to go for it will definitely be asked.”