A fortuitous pick-up ride on Doncaster Mile winner Kermadec has given Glyn Schofield an unexpected chance to claim a second early-season major.
He will ride Kermadec in a race for the first time, replacing Glen Boss in the George Main Stakes after this Melbourne jockey lost his appeal against the severity of a careless-riding suspension.
Schofield claimed the opening Group One of the season aboard the Chris Waller-trained Boban in the Memsie Stakes and it is Sydney’s premier trainer who is poised to provide his second just two months into the new racing term.
“It wasn’t a horse I was pencilled in for but obviously Glen was suspended and it freed up the ride,” Schofield said.
“It’s a lovely one to get on so I’ll just try to give him the ride he needs and hopefully we can come out the other end of it.”
While Schofield hasn’t ridden Kermadec under race conditions, he has partnered him in trackwork and a recent barrier trial.
He has no doubt Kermadec has returned in great order this spring but says the last-start Chelmsford Stakes runner-up still has to prove himself at weight-for-age.
“He’s third-up which is ideal. It is weight-for-age and he still has to win at that level but he indicated last start he’s up to it,” Schofield said.
Kermadec is a $2.60 favourite, ahead of stablemate and Warwick Stakes winner Royal Descent at $4.40 with Lucia Valentina and Pornichet at $6.50 the only other runners in the field of 10 at single figures.
Gai Waterhouse is looking to Pornichet to reassert his Cox Plate claims in the George Main and says a wide draw will be no barrier.
“He’s very versatile, he can lead, he can go back, he can travel anywhere,” Waterhouse said.
“I think this is his race.”
Fresh from winning last Saturday’s Golden Rose, John O’Shea has two George Main entries, Sweynesse and Hauraki while Kris Lees will saddle up Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist and Lucia Valentina.
A full field of 16 will tackle the Group Two Hill Stakes, nine of them from the Waller yard including Sydney and Melbourne Cup placegetter Who Shot Thebarman.