Jockey Chad Schofield will fly in for a one-day visit on Sunday after connections of Golden Monkey reached out to the Sydney-based hoop for the plum ride in the $110,000 Group 3 Fortune Bowl (1400m).
The South African-born jockey answered an ‘SOS’ call from part-owner and principal of Jig Bloodstock, Josh McLoughlan and duly saluted in the Group 2 Stewards’ Cup (1600m) on 2 July last year.
Back then, Schofield knew he was only keeping the seat warm for Hong Kong-based jockey Hugh Bowman, who went on to steer the Tim Fitzsimmons-trained gelding to his only Group 1 win in the Singapore Derby (1800m) at his very next start on 23 July.
Golden Monkey had not visited the winners’ circle in four starts since his Singapore Derby triumph; although he went close while carrying 59kgs at his first run this year. The son of Star Turn was beaten a neck by Silent Is Gold in a Class 1 race (1200m) on 20 January.
With a pending campaign that includes the Fortune Bowl on the second day of the Chinese New Year, the Group 3 Committee’s Prize (1600m) on 9 March, the Group 2 EW Barker Trophy (1400m) on 21 April and the Group 1 Kranji Mile (1600m) on 18 May, Schofield was again invited, and the 29-year-old jumped at the opportunity.
Besides the Fortune Bowl, he will make the trips for the EW Barker Trophy and Kranji Mile meetings but will not be here for the Committee’s Prize due to commitments in Sydney.
“Very happy to be back on him,” said Schofield from Australia on Thursday.
“I’ve kept in touch with Tim and Josh since winning on him last year and when they wanted a commitment for this Group campaign, I was quick to say ‘yes’.
“The only race I will miss will be the Committee’s Prize as I have commitments in Sydney that Saturday.
“He (Golden Monkey) gave me such a good feel when I rode him in the Stewards’ Cup last year. He drew wide (barrier nine) and Tim decided to ride him quiet and let him use his turn of foot.
“Given the way he won so easily, I knew he would win the Derby for Hugh and was really happy for all the owners and Tim when he did (win).”
Although Golden Monkey has drawn more favourably in barrier five this Sunday, Schofield thought a quiet run would still be on the cards.
“His (Golden Monkey) best asset is his turn of foot and we will play to his strengths,” said the son of champion South African jockey, Glyn Schofield.
“The good gate gives us options for sure, but the more you use this horse early, the more we take away from his finish.
“I will talk to Tim before the race, but as it stands, we will ride him quietly and save him up for his winning run.
“He has proven himself as one of the best horses in Singapore and I hope to give him every chance to show that on Sunday.”
McLoughlan, who also purchased fellow Fortune Bowl runner Dream Alliance for the Legacy Power Racing Stable, agreed with Schofield that Golden Monkey is best ridden cold.
“Chad’s only ridden him (Golden Monkey) once, but he knows this horse as good as anyone can from afar,” he said.
“So while he could settle anywhere from that gate, Chad will put him to sleep early and wait and see what plays out in front.
“He’s (Schofield) such a professional. He has kept in touch since the Stewards’ Cup, watched all his races and (barrier) trials and did his homework.
“And he couldn’t have ridden him (Golden Monkey) any better. 10-out-of-10 and it was a no brainer to get him back on.
“We wanted to offer him more than one ride. Consistency is important, so it’s terrific to have him commit for the three races.
“Our grand final is the Kranji Mile, but if we can, and I think we can, pick up a couple of the lead-up races on the way, it’s a bonus.”
Schofield is also booked on three other runners from Fitzsimmons’ yard on Sunday: Fire in the Blizzard 2019 Stakes, a $75,000 Restricted Maiden race (1200m), Mimosas in the Big Brother 2017 Stakes, a $50,000 Class 4 race (1000m) and Mt Niseko in the Goldschatz 2010 Stakes, a $50,000 Class 4 Division 1 race (1200m), in which the latter two are also owned by Jig Racing Stable.
“It’s good to have a jockey like Chad riding at Kranji,” said McLoughlan.
“He’s done his homework on his other rides and all the owners and Tim and I are just happy to have him on.
“They (the horses) all have their idiosyncrasies but I think Chad will get the best out of them.”
– Singapore Turf Club