NEWS PREVIEW

Close call for Cooksley at Te Rapa

"One's ready and the other one isn't," the South Auckland rider said.
Cooksley has been the regular rider of both horses, guiding Ronchi to four of his five wins and winning three of his six rides on Close
But with the Shinko King gelding Close Up going into his fifth run of his preparation and Stravinsky’s son Ronchi likely to take improvement from his first-up run, Cooksley felt his selection was a simple one despite his choice's unplaced last-start run.
"It was a strange run for him, but Shelley Hale found he had a stone bruise afterwards so that explains why he just wasn't himself," Cooksley said of that Te Rapa seventh placing.
"He's at his best when the tracks aren't too heavy, but he doesn't like it too firm either. He's best with the jar out of it and he should get a track to suit on Saturday.
"It's a good field and the filly [Volpe Veloce] will be hard to beat. She goes well fresh, but I'm expecting a much better run from my horse."
Close Up could have big assignments on the horizon, with Hale revealing the Gr.2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m) at Te Rapa on August 19 and the Gr.1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) at Hastings on September 2 were possible targets, though he currently sits 29th on the order of entry for the weight-for-age Tarzino Trophy.
"He's been getting 60 kilos in handicaps and while there's a stand-out horse like Kawi in those races, the rest are much of a muchness. He's that genuine that I just feel he deserves a crack," Hale said.
Cooksley agreed that Close Up was worthy of a tilt at those targets.
"He's probably not far off those good ones on his best form. He's an eight-year-old now so it's probably the best time to have a go."
Once regarded among the world's best jockeys, Cooksley is happy with his form heading into the new season, having ridden 13 winners in the past year from 116 rides.
"I've finished in the top three in nearly 30 per cent of those races so I'm happy. I'm still enjoying it," Cooksley said.

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