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Close Up Keeping Triple Crown Dream Alive
Cambridge trainer Shelley Hale is hopeful that Close Up can take another step towards becoming the first horse to win the Hawke's Bay Triple Crown when he contests the Gr1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m) at Hastings tomorrow, reports NZ Racing Desk. The 8YO gelding claimed the opening leg of the series when scoring a surprise win in the Gr1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) at Hastings on 2 September after only gaining a start on the morning of the race when the connections of Stolen Dance decided to scratch in reaction to the heavy track. Hale said her and the other owners would seriously consider paying the late entry fee for the third leg – the Gr1 Livamol Classic (2040m) 7 October – were Close Up to salute on Saturday. "We'd definitely have a look," Hale said. "At nominations time, I thought 1600m might see him out, but if he runs a strong mile on Saturday, we'll definitely consider the last leg. It all depends on how he's hitting the line on Saturday." Hale added: "He's in pretty good nick. He seems to be every bit as good going into this one as he was before the Tarzino Trophy." Only champions Starcraft and Seachange have contested the third leg of the Triple Crown having won the first two legs, with Starcraft beaten by Balmuse in 2004, and Seachange finishing third in 2006 and fourth in 2007.