Two state champion apprentice Chad Schofield will have his first Group 1 ride as a senior jockey in the $500,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Schofield is set to be granted his senior jockey’s licence in time for his return to saddle at Pakenham on Friday and will partner the Lionel Cohen trained Aeronautical in the Group 1 weight for age sprint down the Flemington straight on Saturday.
Schofield is currently serving a twelve meeting careless riding suspension and will return to race riding with two mounts at Pakenham on Friday followed by three rides the following day.
But the talented young rider has made the headlines in the last couple of days because of his troubled times with his boss, prominent trainer David Hayes.
Schofield had outridden his claim last season and applied to the Racing Victoria stewards at the end of the season to be elevated to the senior riding ranks before his time as an apprentice expired.
Chief steward Terry Bailey declined his request at the time but following the events of the last week when Hayes dismissed Schofield for three weeks for asking to ride outside work one day of the week, Bailey agreed to give the young jockey his senior ticket.
“Both the Stewards and Mr Hayes felt that Chad was not ready to be elevated to a senior rider at the end of last season, but he’s now six months older and has won a Cox Plate,” Bailey told Racing Victoria News.
“Chad has expressed a desire to ride work for a range of stables rather than be tied exclusively to Mr Hayes, so we felt the time was now right for his application to become a jockey to be approved.
“We are working to process his application in time for his resumption from a careless riding suspension this Friday. As it stands, he will likely compete as a senior rider at Flemington on Saturday.”
Hayes was getting frustrated with Schofield’s many suspensions which were interrupting the smooth running of the stable and the leading trainer wasn’t happy when Schofield asked for one morning off a week to ride track work for other trainers.
Hayes told him to have three weeks away from the stable and to contemplate his future, if he wanted to be stable rider or ride freelance.
“I told Chad he rides full time for me or he doesn’t,” Hayes told Racing Network.
“Chad can ride for other people during that period, but he won’t be riding for me.”
Apart from being the champion apprentice in both Sydney and Melbourne in consecutive seasons, Schofield also hit the spotlight with his all the way win on three year old Shamus Award in last year’s Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October.
Schofield has ridden work at Caulfield this week and has picked up the ride on the Peter Moody trained Critical Angel in the Group 3 $150,000 The Mittys Vanity (1400m) as well as the mount on Desert Jeuny in the $80,000 tab.com.au Trophy (1400m) for Flemington trainer Nigel Blackiston.
“I asked for one day off each week to ride trackwork at other places and he (Hayes) didn’t like that and so now I have been suspended for three weeks and can’t ride for him in that time,” Schofield told the Herald Sun.
“He told me to go away and think about it — if I wanted to work full-time for him or not at all.
“I can’t ride for him for three weeks, so I am looking at options in that time, and that involves riding for other trainers and doing trackwork at Caulfield a couple of days a week, heading to Flemington and maybe Cranbourne.
“I want to look around.”
Aeronautical is one of the outsiders in the Black Caviar Lightning and been marked at $21 at his first run since winning the Listed $100,000 Razor Sharp Handicap (1150m) on the Kensington track at Randwick on December 14.
While in the Spring the five year old was beaten a nose by Sessions when second in the Group 2 $200,000 Bowermans Office Furniture Shorts (1100m) at Randwick on September 21.
The Mick Price trained Samaready heads the market order at $3.75 just ahead of Gerald Ryan‘s speedy mare Snitzerland at $4.20 and Bernabeu at $5.50.
Newmarket Handicap winner Shamexpress is the next in the betting at $6 just in front of speedy two year old Boomwaa at $8.