WHEN David Hayes put a call through to the Schofield family home in Sydney, the trainer admits the conversation was at crossed purposes.
Hayes contacted Glyn Schofield as they had been long-time friends when they were a trainer-jockey combination in Hong Kong nearly a decade ago. Schofield was pleased to hear from Hayes and thought he was being sounded out as a stable jockey for the new Euroa-based operation.
''I think Glyn thought we were going to have that same trainer-jockey combination we had in Hong Kong, but I quickly had to point out I was ringing to find out the future movements of his young son Chad,'' Hayes said. ''I wasn't offering Schofield snr the job, I was really looking to see if I could take on his boy as an apprentice, because I'd watched him closely and immediately knew he was the real deal.''
Hayes knew plenty about the young son of the South African-born Schofield as he had seen him learn to walk and play with his own two sons when they were in creche in Hong Kong.
Both families were close and Hayes' two sons, William and J.D., were in contact with Chad, but once the youngster launched his riding career the friendship became even stronger.
''So everyone agreed that Chad could move to Melbourne and I was excited and really amazed that this tiny little boy who I remembered clearly from Hong Kong was now coming to be my apprentice, and that's evolved into him becoming my stable jockey,'' Hayes said.
Schofield jnr has had a staggering rise in the jockey ranks, with Hayes believing he is the equal to the best senior jockeys in the state, and would be a lot higher on the premiership table had he not incurred so many suspensions.
''He's been out more than he's been in,'' Hayes said. ''He's had four suspensions and I'm not that concerned about them; it's just his enthusiasm and his will to win.''
But Schofield, in essence, is the changing face of the lives of young apprentices in Australia.
In the past, apprentices were basically seen and not heard and their riding duties were more tailored around their home duties than anything else.
But Schofield, while taking on a hefty workload of trackwork that includes four mornings at Euroa and three at Flemington, does have the luxury of staying with the Hayes family in Toorak when in Melbourne.
''We're very fond of Chad and there's no problem about him getting too big. His major setback at the moment is probably being too light,'' Hayes said.
Schofield's father, while a leading jockey in Sydney, is in frequent touch with his young son in Melbourne.
''The Schofields are a very close family and Chad is constantly talking to his father who offers advice and criticism when needed,'' Hayes said. ''I use Glyn when I go to Sydney, but I've just noticed lately that Chad is starting to tell his father what he's doing wrong. But at the end of the day, that's the great thing about their relationship.''
Hayes has no qualms in rating young Schofield as one of the best young riders he's had in three decades. He's convinced that with no weight problems to worry about, Schofield jnr can well mix it with the best senior riders in the Australian racing industry.
''I've said in the past, and I know it's a big claim, that in my father's time we had John Stocker and then Brent Thomson, but I don't back away from believing that in time he can be the equal,'' he said.
On Saturday at Moonee Valley, Schofield will again take the rides for the Hayes stable, which itself is getting back to a training business that, in its day, had no equal.