A timely treble ensured Chad Schofield enjoyed his best day in the saddle in two years at Sha Tin on Sunday.
The 26-year-old landed a race-to-race double on Amazing Chocolate and Eternal Harvest early on the card before capping off his afternoon with a patient ride on the Tony Cruz-trained Circuit Three in the Class Three Lai King Handicap (1,400m).
Schofield’s day out could not have come at a better time with the recent departures of Silvestre de Sousa, Alexis Badel and Tony Piccone set to leave a huge hole in the jockeys’ roster.
In a season that has been dogged by suspension, Schofield can put his hand up to become one of the go-to jockeys in Hong Kong.
“It’s funny, I thought I had nice rides but you never come here expecting to ride three, it was a good day,” he said.
It was Schofield’s best performance in the saddle since February 2018 where he rode a four-timer which included Singapore Sling’s Classic Cup victory.
The most impressive of Schofield’s wins came aboard Circuit Three, who was left with it all to do in the straight but prevailed thanks to a gun ride.
Jumping from barrier one, the five-year-old was faced with a wall of horses but cool heads prevailed with Schofield able to weave a path to victory, holding off Zac Purton on Guy Dragon and Karis Teetan on Gift Of Lifeline.
“He donkey-licked them last time with no weight and today he was up the top of the handicap,” Schofield said. “I still expected him to win and he did do that for me.
“I actually wasn’t too happy with the draw, barrier one, because he’s a horse that doesn’t have a great deal of early speed but then likes to come into the race and keep building.
“When I was held up on the fence with his heavy weight, I was a little bit concerned, but he was the best horse in the race and he got himself out of trouble.
“I had a few options so I took one eventually and then he was able to show his customary finish.”
Winning off a rating of 75, Circuit Three could find himself racing up in class next start, but Schofield said he was confident the improving type would be able to cope.
“He is a nice, young horse who is improving all the time, I think he can keep going and climb the ratings,” he said.
Schofield also produced a well-rated ride to guide Eternal Harvest to a dominant wire-to-wire victory for trainer Ricky Yiu Poon-fai in the Class Four Shek Lei Handicap (1,200m).
After flashing home on debut last start for fly-in jockey Ryan Moore, Schofield was able to grab the ride and deliver an easy victory.
As a three-year-old, Eternal Harvest marked himself as a horse for the future.