Chad Schofield remembers watching – from a tree house he’d built in the jockey’s Sha Tin housing block – his father Glyn win one of Hong Kong’s two Group 1 International Sprints.
That was 2005. Dad claimed December’s Hong Kong Sprint on Natural Blitz. Chad was 11 years old and doing what kids do, especially when under-18’s are not permitted to enter Hong Kong’s racecourses.
“I remember it well,” Schofield said, “you either watched the races from the tree house we’d built in the garden or on television. Natural Blitz was a longshot but I think he won quite easily.” Indeed he did, with the 26/1 shot landing the only win of his Hong Kong career by 1.75 lengths from Planet Ruler,
Come Sunday, Schofield will have a much closer vantage point as he partners G2 Sprint Cup winner Rattan in the G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m); a horse who provides him with a realistic chance of emulating his father and landing his first G1 win in the home which he has adopted for the second time and, this time, by his choice.
Schofield spent four years, from 2002 to 2006, living in Hong Kong when his father was contracted to ride here and returned – 10 years later – to take up his own contract after establishing his professional reputation in Australia.
The talented and engaging jockey is now well-entrenched among the best riders in Hong Kong – having finished fifth in the premiership last season – but his local highlights package doesn’t yet include a Group 1 – four of which he secured in Australia where he was also the first rider to win both the Sydney and Melbourne apprentice titles.
Given the firsts, aside from the aforementioned distinction as an apprentice, that have frequently earmarked his career it seems more a matter of when, not if, his highest level breakthrough will come in one of racing’s toughest arenas.