3 minute read
Jockey Chad Schofield is forming a strong off-season partnership with champion trainer Chris Waller.
Blondeau has long promised to win a black-type race and he has finally delivered, spearing through along the inside to claim the Listed Takeover Target Stakes and continue a heady week for jockey Chad Schofield.
It was Schofield's third feature win for the Chris Waller stable in seven days after he claimed the Listed Gold Rush on Tycoonist at Hawkesbury last Saturday and the Wagga Gold Cup aboard Aleas on Friday.
Waller thought Blondeau might make a Golden Slipper horse after he placed behind Farnan in the 2020 Todman Stakes, but it has taken him until his four-year-old year to fulfill his promise.
Charlie Duckworth, representing the premier trainer, said they knew the horse was going well but were concerned by his inside draw on a track that had been favouring horses finishing down the centre.
"We were a little bit worried that he was going to have to come up the rail because everyone said the rail was off before the race, but it certainly wasn't off for him," Duckworth said.
"He has always promised a lot. Even early days, we thought he was going to be our Slipper horse as a two-year-old, so he has taken plenty of time to realise his potential.
"When conditions suit, like they did today, and when he can get ridden with just one crack at them is when you see him at his best.
"Obviously this is his career-highlight to date and hopefully he can take some confidence from it and we can try to keep him fresh so he races to his best."
Blondeau ($13) finished hard to deny New Zealander Gospodin ($21) by a half-neck with Majestic Shot ($8) a solid third another 1-3/4 lengths away.
Schofield said he had not wanted to make his run along the inside but had no alternative once the field fanned for home.
"After a furlong or so he really came on the bridal and travelled sweetly underneath me," Schofield said.
"I didn't have any option on the turn but to go in, although it was inferior ground he really let rip and quickened well."
Cult horse Shelby Sixtysix had a tough run from an outside draw and wasn't able to feature, beating just a handful of rivals home.