Top Sydney jockey Glyn Schofield has picked up the plum ride on favourite Kermadec in the Group 1 $500,000 Colgate Optic White George Main Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Schofield takes over from the suspended Glen Boss who has been aboard the Chris Waller star at his last three starts, including his win in the Group 1 $3m The Star 150th Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on April 6, the first day of ‘The Championships’ during the Sydney Autumn Carnival.
Boss and Kermadec have been a regular team during the early part of the Spring Carnival with a fifth to stablemate Royal Descent in the Group 2 $250,000 Pro-Ride Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on August 22 followed by a second to Complacent with Royal Descent in third spot in the Group 2 $250,000 Tattersalls Club Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on September 5.
Kermadec and Royal Descent are set to clash again in the George Main Stakes with bookies at Ladbrokes.com.au placing the two Waller trained horses at the top of the market order.
Kermadec has been installed the $3 favourite while Royal Descent has already come in for some early support, firming in from $4.80 to be the second pick at $4.60.
Royal Descent’s rider Hugh Bowman can’t see his mare turning the tables in the George Main Stakes following their second and third placings in the Chelmsford and has all but conceded the race to the Doncaster Mile winner.
“To be honest, I’m not sure if she can beat Kermadec,” Bowman told Racing NSW News.
“He beat us fair and square last start at weight-for-age and had to do more work than us.
“I think he’ll improve even further off that, but I’m not sure how much she’ll improve. She’s got to lift, but she’s a top quality mare and I’m definitely not saying that I’m not happy to be on her.
“I respect horses like Pornichet, but I think it’s only him (Kermadec) that can beat her.”
Kermadec has drawn barrier five in the ten horse field while Royal Descent has drawn to his outside in seven.
Schofield knows that Kermadec is still on the up and hopes that Bowman’s assessment is correct but also knows that it is not a foregone conclusion.
“I hope Hughie’s right,” Schofield said.
“Saturday will give us a clearer picture of him at weight-for-age.
“I’d like to think he’ll improve from last start, but this is more than a two-horse race. There’s plenty of other chances and Royal Descent is a top-quality mare.”
George Main Stakes market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $3 Kermadec, $4.60 Royal Descent, $6.50 Pornichet, Lucia Valentina, $12 Hooked, Sweynesse, $13 Kirramosa, $21 Hauraki, $31 Protectionist, $81 Moriarty.