After returning from a neck injury at Sandown’s midweek meet on Wednesday Cox Plate winning jockey Chad Schofield is now looking forward to his Group 3 ride at Flemington on Saturday aboard Text’n Hurley.
Schofield enjoyed a stellar Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival last season highlighted by his win aboard three-year-old Shamus Award who upset the older horses to become the first maiden to win the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m).
His Group 1 tally for last season also included winning rides aboard Lankan Rupee (Newmarket Handicap), Go Indy Go (Champagne Stakes) and Sonntag (Queensland Derby).
“I had a great year last season and I’ve set the bar pretty high, but as long as I can maintain it or even improve on that I’ll be over the moon,” Schofield told AAP.
“I’ve got a lot of nice horses heading towards good races, so I’m expecting another big carnival.”
Son of fellow top hoop Glyn Schofield the young star has spent the past six weeks sporting a neck brace after a race fall earlier in the winter at Cranbourne on June 8.
He’s made a full recovery from that set back, where he fractured a vertebrae in his neck, however as proven when he returned to ride Honey Bunch at Sandown-Hillside on Wednesday.
The filly failed to make an impact when ninth behind 2014 Caulfield Guineas hope Stitch Me Up, but it was still a great feeling to be back in the saddle for her hoop.
“It felt really good being back out there,” he said.
His season continues on Saturday then where his four Flemington rides are headlined by the Colin Little-trained Text’n Hurley in the $150,000 Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m).
The race kicks off the black-type racing action in Melbourne for the new season and also kicks off the Caulfield Cup campaign of Schofield’s mount.
Hard Spun five-year-old Text’n Hurley pays $14 in the latest Aurie’s Star Handicap odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, markets led by the Joe Pride-trained The Galaxy winner Tiger Tees ($3.80).
Mares have a poor record in the race not having won one edition since its elevation to stakes status back in 2005.
Text’n Hurley, drawn in barrier five, races for the first time since her Group 2 Sunline Stakes (1600m) win over the Moonee Valley mile on March 21 when ridden by Craig Williams.
Before that Schofield rode her to a second in the Group 3 Schweppervescence Trophy over the same distance, and he’s happy to reunite with her in the Aurie’s.
She’s not won first-up, at the track or over the distance before however and Schofield believes she’s probably more suited to the mile than the 1200m.
“She’s obviously a horse that gets over a mile,” he said.
He still rates her a chance in her resuming run however as connections begin an ambitious preparation targeting a run in the $3 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 18.
“She is fresh and had a quiet trial at Cranbourne on Monday,” Schofield added.
“She’s a very talented mare now and she will sit out the back and will hit the line strongly.”
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