Double takes Schofield to personal best in Hong Kong

Jockey Chad Schofield was not only delighted to have ended a Group race drought on Sunday, but he also achieved a personal best in his Hong Kong career.

The 26-year-old South African equalled his personal best of 38 wins in a season aboard the Tony Cruz-trained Ka Ying Star in the Group 3 Lion Rock Trophy over 1,600m.

It was his first success since Rattan in the Group 2 Sprint Cup over 1,200m in April last year.

For good measure, he reached a new peak of 39 wins in the last of 11 races at Sha Tin, with Mr Croissant in the Class 2 Amah Rock Handicap over 1,200m.

"I hope the (Group races) keep coming," said Schofield.

"I haven't had many big winners bar today. But numbers-wise, we've equalled my best, so hopefully, we can keep kicking strong for next season.

"I only started riding for Tony this season and to ride a Group 3 winner for him is very good."

Schofield took Ka Ying Star to secure the leader's spot and then slowed the tempo in the back straight, before kicking on down the final stretch.

The game five-year-old bay responded to every urging, holding off the driving challenges of Southern Legend and Fast Most Furious.

"Once I got the lead and got the fence, I was able to give my horse a breather," said Schofield.

"Time To Celebrate had made us work a bit through a pretty solid first section and he wanted to put pressure on me again around the turn.

"If anything, that spurred my horse along and switched him on because usually he's very relaxed out in front. Credit to him with the big weight, he was strong to the line."

Cruz said he would give Ka Ying Star a well-earned rest, before pointing towards the Longines Hong Kong International Races in December.

"We'll try again next season," said the two-time champion, who has closed in to only five winners behind long-time leader Ricky Yiu in the trainers' premiership.

The score: 52-57.

"There's nothing else for him this season, so we'll have to go with what the programme gives us, so he'll definitely be aimed at the Hong Kong Mile."

Jockey Zac Purton rode one winner, Racing Fighter, on Sunday to have a four-win lead in the jockeys' premiership.

His rival, Joao Moreira, drew a blank. The score: 127-123.

Both riders have a full book of nine rides at Happy Valley tomorrow.