It hasn’t been the flying start to the new campaign Chad Schofield was hoping for after what he admits was a disappointing 2020-21 but the 27-year-old feels the tide is turning.
After struggling for momentum following a suspension, Schofield saluted aboard On Excel Star in his first ride since September 19 at Happy Valley on Wednesday night and he has plenty of reasons to be excited looking forward.
Schofield partners the in-form Gluck Racer at Sha Tin on Sunday, the perfect appetiser ahead of the return of the undefeated Fantastic Treasure and his first ride on the white-hot Super Wealthy in the Group Two Premier Bowl (1,200m) on October 17.
“I’d been out for three weeks in the end and first ride back it was good to get a winner so hopefully I can get a bit of momentum now,” Schofield said.
Both Schofield’s winners this season have been for Jimmy Ting Koon-ho and Gluck Racer was one of them four weeks ago.
“We’re a good team, I’m thankful for his support. He gives me some of the nicer horses in his stable and hopefully we can keep building,” the jockey said of Ting.
“Gluck Racer is going for a hat-trick and Jimmy’s got him flying so he should run really well. He finds himself up in the weights and he’s pulled a sticky draw but he’s in really good form.”
Gluck Racer carries 130 pounds in the Class Three Yeung Uk Handicap (1,200m) this weekend after going up eight points for his last win and will have to negotiate gate 11, however Schofield is confident the four-year-old can overcome anything that is thrown at him – even the possibility of a wet track.
“I think he’d handle any ground, he’s a very versatile horse and he’s as honest as they come. He pings out of the lids and puts himself on the pace and he’s got a turn of foot,” he said.
Gluck Racer is two from two since joining Ting from Manfred Man Ka-leung last season, with both wins coming under Schofield.
“At this stage he is in the best form in my stable,” Ting said. “I don’t think the eight points make it difficult to win, I think he’s still got some points in hand. I think at the bottom of Class Two he will still be a big chance.”
Gluck Racer tackles another galloper shooting for a hat-trick in Douglas Whyte’s First Responder, while Tony Cruz’s California Cible returns after an eye-catching second on his Hong Kong debut.
“[California Cible] looks like a nice horse going forward but my horse is rock-hard fit and in career-best form,” Schofield said.
Schofield also partners Gold Comet for Ting in the Class Three Tsuen Fu Handicap (1,650m) on the all-weather track.
“Gold Comet is back to 1,650m, he destroyed them on the dirt last season over the trip,” Schofield said. “He just didn’t get warm over the 1,200m the other day, it’s just far too short.
“He doesn’t have the speed for the 1,200m dirt races but he’ll be much more comfortable over the 1,650m and it’s a nice race for him.”