Last year’s winning Cox Plate hoop Chad Schofield on Sunday was cleared of a serious neck injury after a Cox Plate Day fall at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
In the young jockey’s first ride of the day he jumped aboard the Sue Jaensch-trained Albonetti in Race 5 – the $250,000 Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m) – but was thrown from his mount approaching the home turn.
While the race was subsequently won by the Darren Weir-trained Prince Of Penzance who heads towards the $300,000 Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day, November 8, Albonetti walked in last without his rider.
Schofield lay on the track for a moment but much to the relief of the crowd he got up and walked himself to the ambulance.
Bravely the 20-year-old son of fellow top rider Glyn Schofield went on to ride two more horses at the meeting.
Then on Sunday it was an anxious wait for the results of his neck scan.
Back in June Schofield suffered two fractures in his C3 vertebra and the worry was he had re-injured the same area.
He received the all clear however and was understandably relieved according to his manager Mark Van Triet.
“Chad felt he may have broken his neck again,” Van Triet told TVN yesterday.
Jockey Michelle Payne, aboard the Moonee Valley Gold Cup winner Prince Of Penzance, was charged with careless riding over the incident.
She was found to allow her mount to improve into a tight run, between Black Tycoon and dual winner of the race Precedence, and cause Albonetti to clip heels according to the stewards.
The James & Bart Cummings-trained Zabeel nine-year-old Precedence was also injured during the drama coming away with skin off his leg.
There’s a chance then the veteran galloper, Bart Cummings’ sole chance at a record 13th Melbourne Cup victory, could miss the $6.2 million two mile classic on the first Tuesday of November.
After his fall on Saturday meanwhile Schofield’s other two rides were a third aboard Group 1 winning filly Go Indy Go behind Moonovermanhattan in the $200,000 Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase (2040m) and then a loss in the day’s major.
In the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m), a race he won 12 months ago in an upset as an apprentice aboard maiden three-year-old Shamus Award, Schofield could only manage to run eighth with Sweynesse.
It was a blanket finish in the Cox Plate however with less than two lengths separating first from eighth, the weight-for-age classic won by Aidan O’Brien’s Irish raider Adelaide who will stay on with Chris Waller in Sydney post-spring carnival.
The fact the Moonee Valley Racing Club (MVRC) jockey gave Schofield the all clear to continue riding post-fall on Saturday has also prompted a review according to Victorian Jockeys Association CEO Des O’Keefee.
Schofield was re-examined after his Vase and Cox Plate rides on Saturday and stood down from the last at the meeting, also advised not to drive home, a concern then he was allowed to jump back on the saddle at all.
Tuesday’s Seymour meet will see the return of Schofield according to Van Triet, and he also rides in the Bendigo Cup meeting on Wednesday.
The good news also clears him to ride during the coveted Melbourne Cup Carnival kicking off with Victoria Derby Day this Saturday.
One of his key rides over the four-meeting carnival will be on the horse he rode to third in Saturday’s Vase, Go Indy Go.
Winner of the Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) in Sydney back in April, the Bernardini filly continues on towards the $1 million Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) on November 6 despite pulling up a bit sore after her Cox Plate Day run.
Adelaide-based co-trainer Leon Macdonald was thrilled with Sunday’s news that Schofield would be able to continue his association on the impressive three-year-old when she attempts another elite level victory to further boost her value as a potential broodmare.
“The phone was already ringing this morning but we were always going to wait to see how Chad was,” Macdonald told The West Australian.
“Go Indy Go has got some battle scars. She has some skin off her near side hind leg from where things got a bit tight down the back.
“But it’s not serious. It’s bandaged up and she will be right in a day or two.”