Jockey Chad Schofield believes that Sonntag is on track for the 2014 Eclipse Stakes at Sandown this weekend after he partnered the Group 1 winner in a jump out this morning.
Sonntag contested a jump out over 800 metres at Sandown this morning and he finished at the tail of the field, but Schofield said that he never asked the Teofilo gelding for an extra effort and was happy with the feel he got from the four-year-old.
Schofield rode Sonntag when he scored a tough win in the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm on June 7, but missed the ride on the promising gelding when he took out the Listed Sale Cup (1600m) on October 26 after suffering an injury at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate Day and the leading jockey said that he is keen to get back aboard and is hopeful that he can maintain his unbeaten record on the former Darley-owned galloper in the Eclipse Stakes.
“He wasn’t out there to break any records, but he felt strong underneath me and he was up against a couple of handy sprinters, so I’m not concerned how far he finished off them,” Schofield told TVN.
“Henry (Dwyer) has got him ticking over nicely and I’m looking forward to Saturday.
“I better get a result this week or I might get replaced by Michael Rodd.
“I had put a bit of work in to the horse before his win in the Sale Cup and knew he was going well.
“It was unfortunate that I was unable to ride him due to the fall I had at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate day.
“The last race I rode him in was the Queensland Derby, so fingers crossed we can get the result on Saturday.”
Sonntag made his racing debut as a member of the Darley operation in 2013, but he failed to finish in the placings in his first three race starts and was sold at the 2013 Inglis Tried Racehorse Sales before joining the stable of Henry Dwyer.
The four-year-old broke through for a maiden race win when he took out the Plumbtec Lakes Entrance Handicap (1500m) at Sale on April 17 and stamped himself as a genuine Queensland Derby contender when he finished second in the Stramit Building Products Handicap (1600m) at Bendigo on May 2 and took out the ALH Group Handicap (2000m) at Caulfield on May 17.
Schofield elected to push forward in the early stages of the Queensland Derby on Sonntag and got going on the gelding a long way from home, but his aggressive tactics paid dividends when the promising stayer showed plenty of determination to score a tough win.
Sonntag is set to face stiff competition in the Eclipse Stakes after the likes of imported galloper Spillway, Gai Waterhouse-trained Pheidon, last start winner Saint Or Sinner and Kyneton Cup winner Tristram’s Sun included in the nominations for the Group 3 event.