Golden Monkey brings Schofield back to Kranji
After Group 2 win, Sydney hoop gets Fortune Bowl gig on the same horse – and two more
A Group-winning turn on Golden Monkey in July has paved the way to a three-part series of Kranji pitstop visits for Chad Schofield.
Obviously happy with his handling of the classy chestnut in the Group 2 Stewards’ Cup (1,600m), connections have again called on the 29-year-old Sydney-based British jockey for three more high-profile bookings.
The first assignment comes up as early as Feb 11 in the $110,000 Group 3 Fortune Bowl (1,400m). He then returns two months later for the $150,000 Group 2 EW Barker Trophy (1,400m) on April 21.
The last leg, and evidently, the pinnacle of the guest appearances, is the $1 million Group 1 Kranji Mile (1,600m) on May 18.
Trainer Tim Fitzsimmons said the South African-born son of former Singapore Airlines International Cup-winning jockey Glyn Schofield (Gitano Hernando in 2011) was actually being aimed for a quartet of visits, not a trifecta.
“(Jig Racing/Elvin Stable racing manager) Josh McLoughlan has organised everything, but Chad could not make it for the Committee’s Prize. He has a commitment on that day,” said the Australian handler, in reference to the Group 3 mile event on March 9.
“We have time to work out who will ride Golden Monkey then. But it’s great he can make it for the other three races.”
Golden Monkey notched up his biggest win in the Group 1 Singapore Derby (1,800m) three weeks after the Stewards’ Cup, but with Hugh Bowman up.
With the Sydney champion jockey tied up in Hong Kong, it was a no-brainer to re-invite Schofield.
“There weren’t many jockeys available as most of them were booked. It made sense to look elsewhere, and Chad was Josh’s pick,” said Fitzsimmons.
“We’ve also put him on Fire, Mimosas and Mt Niseko.”
With Golden Monkey’s preparation towards his 2024 campaign having gone to plan, Schofield will be getting the leg-up on a horse who is as fit as a fiddle.
Fitzsimmons lauded the Star Turn five-year-old’s first-up second despite conceding a lot of weight to the winner Silent Is Gold in a Class 1 race (1,200m) on Jan 20.
“He had an economical run from third last but, because of the 8.5kg pull, he could not grab the winner,” he said.
“He has pulled up great and I’ve given him a couple of gallops since.”
The last hit-out on Feb 7 was a particularly rousing gallop that saw him quicken over the last 600m in 41.1sec.
“He’s happy and he’s in a nice place at the moment,” said Fitzsimmons.
“He’ll carry the top weight (58kg) but that is part and parcel of handicap races. He’ll be the top weight again in the Committee’s Prize and the EW Barker.
“At least, he’s drawn a nice barrier in four (from five after the scratchings).”
But should Golden Monkey falter, it may well be his stablemate Dream Alliance who could steal the thunder.
The Into Mischief five-year-old is a course-and-distance specialist. All his five Kranji wins were recorded over 1,400m.
But, ironically, his best race probably came in defeat over 2,000m – in the 2023 Group 1 Singapore Gold Cup in November. He eye-balled the champion Lim’s Kosciuszko inside the last 200m, even headed him, but agonisingly missed out by a short head.
Dream Alliance stages his return in the Fortune Bowl, but has not missed a beat in his work at home. One week after winning a trial on Feb 1, he went over the 600m in a breezy 40.5 on Feb 7.
“He trialled great and is in great form,” said Fitzsimmons.
“He’s drawn off the track (15 down to 12 after scratchings), though, which is a slight concern. He does get back, though.”
Fitzsimmons’ other areas of concern – not over only his Fortune Bowl duo but all runners – are the weather and the track.
“It’s not been raining for a while. I hope the club waters the track,” he said.
“When Golden Monkey last ran (Jan 20), we had 100mm of rain the day before. It raced so well that day, horses led, came from behind – from everywhere.
“Even when it rains the day before, the track drains so well that it dries up quickly and can be like concrete. The club should still water the track in the morning.”