It may only be a run-of-the-mill race but a win for jockey Chad Schofield on Shimmer And Shine would mean more than its Class Three status on Saturday.
Schofield was set to lose the ride on the promising horse after former trainer Tony Millard ceased using the young jockey’s services in late-November, despite him having ridden the four-year-old in all of his five career starts, which included two wins.
Millard and Schofield had combined for four winners from 19 starts between September and November before the split, which saw Schofield also removed from the likes of Singapore Sling and Elusive State.
In a twist of fate, however, owner Michael Smith transferred Shimmer And Shine to Caspar Fownes’ yard last month, so Schofield is back aboard.
Shimmer And Shine will have his first start under his new trainer on Saturday in the Class Three Ventris Handicap (1,200m) and the jockey says the horse has picked right up where he had left off after a strong performance in a recent barrier trial on the all-weather surface.
“When he trialled, he wore blinkers and he led all the way and felt really good, he’s got a good record and is a good young horse on the way up and let’s hope he can get off to a good start with his new stable,” said Schofield, who returns to race riding after completing a two-meeting suspension.
“He’s a very athletic horse and I think Caspar has done a fair bit of work with him so hopefully he can get a good trip in the race and run well for me. He’s always been a lovely sensible horse, he’s very laid-back in his work.”
If Schofield was to be able to win on Shimmer And Shine, it would be the second horse that Fownes has managed to win with from a mid-season transfer in less than a week after former Dennis Yip Chor-hong galloper Super Lucky was dominant at Happy Valley on Wednesday night for his new trainer.
Despite boasting a strong form line going into the race, Schofield will not get it all his way with the likes of Tornado Twist, Invincible Missile, Flying Murty and Victory Machine all lining up.
Trained by John Size, Tornado Twist was able to make a customary second-up improvement last month where he won at just his second start.
Stepping up in grade after the win, Tornado Twist will carry just 114 pounds, marking him as a serious danger.
“He ran like he was better than Class Four horses on that day and in his first start he promised to come out and win a race,” Size said.
“I think that it was a good win, it was only in Class Four but it seems like he has got more in him.”
With a tendency to be slow out of the barriers, Size said he had given the three-year-old plenty of practice going into Saturday’s meeting.
“I put him in the gates and he didn’t jump out, he just had some gate practice to go through to try and relax him a little bit more, he’s not perfect in the machine but we will do our best to try and rectify that,” he said. “If he’s slow away it’s quite complicated from there.”
After winning by almost four lengths on debut, Chris So Wai-yin’s Invincible Missile also finds himself up in grade following a 10-point penalty by the handicapper.