Jockey Chad Schofield is looking to turn around the fortunes of talented galloper Naboo Star and make a good impression on Happy Valley master Caspar Fownes at the same time on Wednesday night.
Fownes has given Schofield a handful of rides of late and he looks to have a strong chance of landing a winner for the trainer after also securing the booking of last-start winner E Master.
It comes after Schofield piloted Fownes’ Southern Legend to a strong second placing in the Group One Hong Kong Gold Cup (2,000m) last month at odds of $57.
“It’s really good [riding for Fownes] – I have always ridden the odd one for him here and there but it is beginning to get more consistent,” Schofield said.
“I have got two really nice rides for him on Wednesday night and I am really hoping I can make the opportunity count.”
Naboo Star will return to the 1,650m trip in the Class Four Jaffe Handicap, a distance he looks best suited to after running on strongly for second last start under Zac Purton.
With Purton opting to ride John Moore’s Happy Warrior, Schofield finds himself with a genuine winning chance in the race after drawing barrier three, while Purton will jump from the widest gate.
“I have never ridden him before but he is lightly raced and was unlucky last start, he has drawn the perfect barrier and the horse who will be hardest to beat [Happy Warrior] has drawn wide. It looks a lovely race for him on paper,” he said.
Schofield, however, will be forced to do it the hard way on E Master in the Class Three Fenwick Handicap (1,200m) after the horse drew barrier 10 for his first step-up in class in his 13-start career.
New to the Fownes’ stable this season, the five-year-old has improved, finishing no worse than fourth in five starts.
“Before he won his last start for Zac, he had been unlucky from wide barriers a couple of times, he got the job done last time out and now he finds himself up in class,” he said.
“With that, however, comes the lighter weight so hopefully he can sprint even better with less weight on his back, he is a horse in form.
“You don’t want to draw wide at Happy Valley at any start because the turns come up very quickly, sometimes you just have to go further back than you’d like.”
Schofield also revealed he had secured a BMW Hong Kong Derby (2,000m) ride on the John Size-trained Red Warrior.
The 96-rated galloper endured a torrid run in the Classic Cup (1,800m) last month and looks to go into the race as the lesser fancied of the Size runners after doing most of his good work at Happy Valley.
However, Schofield said it was not one to be underrated come the big day.
“I am riding for the right man when it is a big race,” he said. “He had a bad run last start in the Classic Cup, he was wide with no cover and he was beaten five or so lengths. I am really happy to pick up rides off John Size, that is for sure.”
It comes after Size revealed Englishman Ryan Moore will fly in to ride Enrichment, while stable jockey Joao Moreira is booked for equal favourite Waikuku.