Chad Schofield admits it was nice to see Zac Purton “get one ready for me for a change” as he prepares to make his return from chickenpox at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Sidelined for the past three meetings after coming down with the illness, Schofield was in the midst of eight days in isolation at Beas River when Purton partnered the David Hayes-trained Lucky With You to a comfortable victory in an all-weather trial on July 2.
After piloting the smart three-year-old to second on debut last month, Schofield reunites with Lucky With You in the Class Four Entrapment Handicap (1,200m) this weekend.
“It was nice for him to get one ready for me for a change,” Schofield joked about four-time champion jockey Purton.
“He’s a nice young horse. He looked to trial really well while I was locked up. He looks like he’s come on for his run, like I thought he would, and I’m looking forward to riding him.”
Lucky With You sat outside leader Infinite Power in his debut run but was unable to reel Frankie Lor Fu-chuen’s galloper in after he set a moderate early speed, falling a neck short despite rattling home in 21.88 seconds – the fourth fastest last 400m on the card.
“Off his work leading into his first run we thought he’d be very hard to beat and we were disappointed that he didn’t win,” Schofield said.
“They sprinted home very quickly, him and the winner – the last couple of sections were very slick so it was a very good run in defeat. Hopefully he can breakthrough on the weekend.”
Lucky With You must overcome gate 10 in his second start and meets a trio of fellow three-year-olds who are also coming off last-start placings – Lor’s All Beauty, the Dennis Yip Chor-hong-trained Flying Dragon and Jimmy Ting Koon-ho’s Treasure Of Field.
“We’ll just see how he jumps, he broke really well in his first start and then again in the trial so we’ll see. He’s very easy to ride, he’s a lovely natured horse, so he’ll switch off wherever I put him,” Schofield said in regards to the wide gate.
Schofield also climbs aboard a host of other in-form gallopers, partnering Gracylove for David Hall, Ting’s Super Elegance and Team Power for Ricky Yiu Poon-fai.
After winning on him last season, Schofield rides Team Power for the first time in over a year in the Class Three Contentment Handicap (1,400m).
“He’s a horse with a few issues, I won on him back in Class Four and obviously he’s a last-start winner. Hopefully Ricky has been able to overcome the minor issues he has had and he can continue on his winning ways – he’s a horse with ability,” the jockey said.
Schofield says he is raring to go after his enforced lay-off as he looks to finish a tough season on a high – with just 24 winners to his name with two meetings remaining, the 27-year-old looks poised to fall short of 30 victories for the first time in his six seasons in Hong Kong: “Coming off the back of isolation I’m chomping at the bit.”
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