Hula Girl can weave magic at Walcha
RACING: It took Hula Girl 11 starts to break through for her first win. But now she’s ready to help trainer Paddy Cunningham win his first $30,000 Elders Walcha Cup (1440m) today.
Hula Girl has since managed another four wins and five placings from her next 19 starts and the $12,000 purchase will surpass $100,000 in prizemoney if she finishes in the first two.
“She always had the ability but it took a while to get her right in the head and it was a bit frustrating,” Cunningham said.
A Walcha Cup win would be Cunningham’s first as a trainer after he won the race a few times as a jockey in the 1970s. Miss Caitlyn ran unplaced for Cunningham in last year’s race.
Hula Girl is coming off an impressive last-start win where she came from the rear of the field to score by a quarter of a length when ridden masterfully by Tegan Harrison in the $30,800 Iris Nielsen Handicap (1400m) at Ballina.
What made the win most impressive was the fact that she had to duck back in near the rail before moving back out late to overtake the leading pair of horses.
“She’s going very well and it was a big effort last start,” Cunningham said.
Jodi Worley, who has ridden the horse to four of its wins, is back on board and the tactics will be similar to last start after drawing barrier 12.
“She’s better when ridden quiet. If she’s ridden close she doesn’t seem to have the same turn of foot,” Cunningham said.