POPULAR Horsham-based jockey Christine Puls won her first Hamilton Cup on Saturday, when she guided the Darren Weir-trained Master Zephyr to defeat Barry The Baptist and Dandy Gent in the 2200-metre race.
Weir, who had four runners in the feature race on the eight race program, has won the $60,000 race four times in the last six years.
Puls told The Standard she was excited with the cup win and was thankful Weir had given her the ride on Master Zephyr.
“I’m delighted to have won the Hamilton Cup,” the underrated jockey said. “I’ve got to thank Weiry. I don’t get many rides for his stable but to get the opportunity to ride one like Master Zephyr in the Cup was special.
Weiry could have given the ride to lots of other jockeys. I think Weiry may have given me the ride as a reward for riding some of his horses at the trials and gallops at Horsham a few weeks ago.
“I rode about 11 horses for his stable that morning. Master Zephyr was doing his best work at the end of the race.”
Puls allowed Master Zephyr to drop back at the start from his wide barrier. The seven-year-old was running last until the 400-metre mark when Puls elected to stay on the rails. Barry The Baptist looked the likely winner at the 250-metre mark but Master Zephyr dug deep over the concluding stages to score a dogged victory.
Master Zephyr is no stranger to Western District Cup races. He won the 2016 Terang Cup and ran fourth in the 2016 Warrnambool Cup and Colac Cup in 2017.
Weir’s other Hamilton Cup winners over the past six years are Leica Day (2016), Rainbow Storm (2015) and Hurdy Gurdy Man (2014).
Warrnambool trainer Matthew Williams took the training honours winning two races. Williams was successful with Reward The Maid and Break And Enter.