Shelley Hale will leave it to Grant Cooksley to make the call on which of her stable representatives he will ride in the Gr. 2 Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate at Te Rapa on Saturday week.
Hale plans to tackle the weight-for-age event with Close Up and his brother Seventh Up. Cooksley has been the regular rider of both horses and was runner-up on Close Up in last year’s Foxbridge Plate before the pair headed to Hastings to win the Gr. 1 Tarzino Trophy and finish second to Gingernuts in the Gr. 1 Windsor Park Plate.
Cooksley got a taste of the Shinko King nine-year-old’s readiness for this month’s Foxbridge Plate when he finished fourth over 1200 metres at Te Rapa last Saturday. The Group One winner was carrying a hefty impost of 63.5 kilograms.
“He went really well,” Cooksley said. “He’ll take a lot of improvement out of that. If I could have got out further on him in the straight, he could have finished a bit closer.”
Cooksley also tested out Seventh Up last Saturday with an exhibition gallop and was equally pleased with the Gr. 2 Easter winner.
“He quickened from the half-mile and was doing it well,” Cooksley said. “I’m happy to ride either one in the Foxbridge.”