You'd be hard pressed to find a pair of more contrasting jockeys that won our two feature races on Saturday, Ellerslie and Riccarton.

If there is a similarity between Seventh Up's winning jockey in the $200,000 Manco Easter, Grant Cooksley and Jacob Lowry, who piloted a gallant Tommy Tucker home in the $100,000 Coca-Cola Canterbury Gold Cup, it's that the boots of their cars are full of race saddles.

Oh, and that they are two very talented jockeys. Jockeys of different generations.

Lowry, at 19, has a lot of experience to get through to catch up to Cooksley, who seems to have been riding for two lifetimes.


At the expense of sounding harsh, the middle and lower ranks of South Island riders are not world beaters, but Jacob Lowry is top class.

Like most topliners, he rides tight, much tighter than many apprentices and that was clear on a couple of occasions in the home straight in the big race on Saturday.

His problem is weight. He cannot ride below 56kg and to ride that he has to complete four intense gym sessions a week as well as ride work and on raceday.

His boss, Tommy Tucker's co-trainer Brian Anderton, is looking at sending Lowry to a Sydney trainer for a month or two during the winter.

"Jacob's weight is reasonable at the moment, but he is due a holiday.

If he took a couple of weeks off here his weight would balloon out of control so the best way around it would be to send him to Sydney.

"I haven't approached anyone, but Chris Waller springs to mind."

Waller had taken on New Zealand apprentices Rory Hutchings and Lee Magorrian in recent times and both have ended up staying in Sydney.

Hutchings also had weight issues, which Waller managed well.

"The beauty of Australia is they count only city wins to judge the apprentice allowance they can claim, so Jacob would be perfect for the topweights over there."

Off the back of a massive effort to lump 60kg clear topweight to win easily at Riccarton two weeks ago, Tommy Tucker looked well placed at weight-for-age this time.

"He's very tough," said Brian Anderton. That win took the 8-year-old's earnings to close to $350,000.

Grant Cooksley (yellow and green) bursts through on Seventh Up in the Manco Easter. Photo / Trish Dunell
Grant Cooksley (yellow and green) bursts through on Seventh Up in the Manco Easter. Photo / Trish Dunell

You can't beat the race record of Seventh Up - seven wins and four minor placings from 16 starts now. "He's a marvellous horse," said co-owner and trainer Shelley Hale. "I'm just disappointed this race has been dropped back to group two, because I've always believed him to be a group one horse."

Much of the win could be attributed to a clever ride by Grant Cooksley. Back runners like Seventh Up are against it in big fields of high class horses.

Going around the field on the corner in this class is not an option and Cooksley decided to stay inside and ride for luck.

Good luck looked to deny the pair, then the gaps appeared and Seventh Up, who can run startling sectionals, drove through to win narrowly.

Had Cooksley gone around the body of the field he would not have finished 1-2-3.

While riding in Australia, Cooksley copped the nickname 'The Iceman' but he is often misunderstood. The veteran has a wicked sense of humour which, to be fair, he often keeps hidden.