Manning nabs third NZ Cup win

Kelly McCulloch getting the best out of Pump Up The Volume to win yesterday's NZ Cup.

Kelly McCulloch getting the best out of Pump Up The Volume to beat Perfect Start in yesterday’s NZ Cup.

Ralph Manning finally got his shot at third win in the Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup at Riccarton yesterday and his patience was rewarded.

The talented Cambridge horseman had been hoping to tackle the 3200-metre feature with Pump Up The Volume, a son of Savabeel, for the last few years, but the weather kept playing against him.

“He doesn’t need a heavy track, just the sting out, but the rain never came and we never got down here with him,” said Manning. “But this year we’ve got a bit of rain and he got his chance.

“I knew he’d have no trouble with the distance and as long as Kelly (McCulloch) got him to the outside I thought he could win. Kelly rode him beautifully.”

A winner in his only previous attempt at 3200 metres (in the Chalmers Premier at Trentham in December 2013), Pump Up The Volume sealed his trip south with a strong win in the Listed Ricoh Feilding Gold Cup at Awapuni and he realised the hopes of Manning with a hard-fought win over Perfect Start in a nail-biting finish to the NZ Cup.

While many of his rivals, including the favourite Nymphe Monte, spoilt their chances when pulling when the pace was slack during the first half of the race, Pump Up The Volume settled nicely for McCulloch well back in the field.

McCulloch was content to sit quietly on Pump Up The Volume and didn’t make her move until 800 metres out when tracking Nymphe Monte. “I got on the back of the favourite and I knew I was going better than him,” said McCulloch.

McCulloch angled Pump Up The Volume to the extreme outside early in the run home and got to work on the eight-year-old and it soon became obvious she was in with a winning chance.

While powering down the outside after Imperium, Pump Up The Volume was joined down on the inside over the final 250 metres by Perfect Start, ridden by McCulloch’s sister, Rosie Myers. The pair then fought out an exciting finish with the older sister getting the jockey’s winning purse by a half-head.

“He got a bit lost out there on his own and I thought Rosie may have nabbed me,” said McCulloch.

“The key to these two mile races is to put them to sleep and he had no trouble he went to sleep. He’s a great horse and a pleasure to ride.”

It was McCulloch’s first win on Pump Up The Volume, though she was very familiar with his staying talent. She had ridden him of five previous occasions for four seconds and a third.

Ralph Manning, who produced a masterful training performance to win the NZ Cup with Pump Up The Volume after just two lead-up runs.

Ralph Manning, who produced a masterful training performance to win the NZ Cup with Pump Up The Volume after just two lead-up runs.

Her first ride on the Manning and Tony Coombe-owned galloper was at Otaki in September three years ago when finishing second and she was then aboard when third in that year’s Stratford Cup.

It wasn’t until May the following year that McCulloch was reunited with Pump Up The Volume and the result was another Otaki second and she then rode him into the same placing behind Indikator in the 2014 Rotorua Cup, the same race won 18 years earlier by his dam, Nat The Brat.

Fourteen months passed before McCulloch was back in Pump Up The Volume’s saddle and that occasion was when second in last July’s Taumarunui Gold Cup behind Jochen Rindt.

Lisa Allpress and Emily Farr were aboard Pump Up The Volume in his next three races leading up to the New Zealand Cup and McCulloch was thrilled to nab the ride yesterday in the feature she has won twice previously, on Hoorang in 2008 and Mungo Jerry in 2014.

Manning also had a treble of wins in the Riccarton “two miler” and McCulloch can’t be blamed for not remembering the former jockey’s first New Zealand Cup winner. But she will never forget the Cambridge horseman’s latest triumph in the Riccarton feature.

McCulloch was just three years of age when Manning, with just a couple of seasons of training under his belt, won the New Zealand Cup with Oak Vue. Manning then returned to Riccarton 19 years ago to win the 1997 New Zealand Cup with Laud Peregrine, who died a couple of weeks ago at the age of 24.

Pump Up The Volume was a $10,000 purchase by Manning from the 2010 NZ Bloodstock Select Yearling Sales and he has now taken his record to eight wins and 27 placings from 51 starts for stake earnings of $386,410.

He is just one short of the total number of wins recorded by his dam, Nat The Brat, whose final win came at Riccarton in her farewell performance in the 1997 Listed Winter Classic.

Nat The Brat’s other wins included the Gr. 3 Cornwall Handicap and the Listed Manawatu Breeders Stakes (twice).