Promising apprentice jockey Hazel Schofer had a day to remember at New Plymouth on Thursday, riding home three winners on her home track. Apprenticed to Allan Sharrock, Schofer scored an early double for local trainer Ian Adams with Tarabeebee and Aratoka, before winning for her boss aboard short-priced favourite Come Sei in the Stable Books Supporting NZ Trainers (1400m).
Schofer, who has been riding on race day for less than a month, was delighted to pick up a treble so early in her riding career. “It was pretty special,” she said. “It was good to get three at the home track with all my family there. It’s definitely my biggest day so far.” The 20-year-old rider was a keen showjumper while at school and her dedication to that sport was the catalyst for her career in racing. “I used to show jump when I was in high school and I needed a job that had good hours so that I could work my own horses after school,” she said. “Going in early in the morning worked around that. “I have always wanted to (be a jockey) ever since I was a young kid. As I got older, I thought I wasn’t the right shape for it, but luckily I put in the hard work and managed to get my weight down.”
Schofer began working for Ilone Kelly before transferring to Allan Sharrock a year ago. “I started with Ilone Kelly and then when they relocated to Levin it wasn’t the same as being at home, so I came back and I was lucky enough to get a job with Allan. “I have been working for Allan for a year now, but didn’t start riding trials until earlier this year, and started riding on race day on the 11th of May.” Schofer said she has received a lot of support and has been fortunate to have been placed on some handy horses. “I get a lot of good rides and opportunities, so it makes it a lot easier when you are getting support and you are on good horses. “I have got a couple of good rides coming up this weekend.”
Those rides include Art Deco for Sharrock in the Platinum Homes Taranaki 1200 at Trentham and Herengawe for trainer Joanne Moss at the same venue. Schofer retains the ride on Art Deco after finishing runner-up to Comeback in their previous two starts, and she is hoping they can turn the tables on the Team Rogerson-trained runner. “It is good to be on her (Art Deco) again, it’s a bit of a competitive field but she’s doing well,” she said. “I think Allan is pretty happy with how she is going and he has got her nice and fit.”
Schofer is enjoying her time under the guidance of Sharrock and said she just wants to continue to improve as a rider. “It’s good to be with a trainer with a lot of experience and knowledge, it definitely helps my riding,” she said. “I don’t have any specific goals, I just want to keep improving and be able to work through my claim gradually and just be consistent.”