Jockey Chad Schofield is back in action at Flemington on Saturday but the Melbourne stay will be short as he prepares to head to Hong Kong in September to start a six month riding contract.
The two time apprentice premiership champion and Cox Plate winner has spent the last three months gaining valuable riding experience in England when based at Newmarket.
Schofield spent part of his apprenticeship with trainer David Hayes at Lindsay Park and when Hayes arrived at Newmarket with Criterion, Schofield was able to team up with the Australian Derby and Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner.
Schofield secured the mount on Criterion in the Group 1 £525,000 The Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (1 mile, 2 furlongs) at Royal Ascot and even though the weight for age star could only manage to finish fifth to Free Eagle, the young jockey rated it as the highlight of his stay in England.
“Being able to ride Criterion over there was super but from the time I got there I just loved every minute of it,” Schofield told Melbourne radio station RSN.
“From the mornings, to the races, it’s just so different and I learned a lot.
“Riding out every morning, I learnt a lot more about the horse.”
Schofield has had a checked but highly successful career that has been punctuated with multiple suspensions and severe injuries that had kept him out of the saddle for months at a time.
But the talented young jockey has four Group 1 trophies on the mantelpiece as well as two apprentice premiership titles.
Schofield created history when as an apprentice rode a daring race to win his first Group 1 on Shamus Award in the 2013 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley.
He then went on win the Group 1 $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on Lankan Rupee and the Group 1 $400,000 Moet & Chandon Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on Go Indy Go during the 2014 Autumn Carnival, and then the Group 1 $500,000 Channel Seven Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm during the Brisbane Winter Carnival on Sonntag.
Schofield has four rides at Flemington on Saturday and will team up again with Hayes and co-trainer Tom Dabernig with Pago Rock, an $11 chance with Ladbrokes.com.au, in the $80,000 Bruce Gadsden Handicap (1400m).
He will also ride last start winner Gold Symphony ($12) for Peter Moody in the $80,000 The Flemington Family Handicap (1200m) for the two year olds, Dollars Not Sense ($21) for Amy Johnston in the $80,000 Chicquita Handicap (1400m) for the three year old fillies and the Nigel Blackiston trained Viking Ransom ($26) in the $80,000 Dalray Handicap (1100m) for the three year olds.