Puls becomes the 24th winner of the coveted award, run by the Victorian Wakeful Club in partnership with Racing Victoria.The award celebrates women who have made an outstanding contribution to the thoroughbred racing and breeding industries.
Puls knew she wanted to be a jockey from the age of four, when she would ride sheep around the family arm.She regularly competes on the metropolitan and country circuits, as well as providing ongoing guidance and support to younger riders coming through the ranks.
Her biggest claim to fame is winning the G3 Hobart Cup in 2005 on Our Dashing Dane.Puls claimed the award at a star-studded ceremony attended by her fellow finalists, leading trainer Natalie Young, retired jockey Clare Lindop and Claudette Luke, Financial Manager of the Magic Millions Sales.
The other winners at the Lady of Racing Award Luncheon were:RV apprentice jockey Mikaela Lawrence, recipient of the Marie McCullough Apprentice Jockey Training Program Scholarship;
Emily Schulz, Racing Assistant at First Light Racing, who was awarded the Mary Martin Polytechnic Scholarship;Clerk of the Course Remi Gray, who won the Spirit of Racing Award.
Chairman of the Australian Jockeys Association Des O’Keeffe said Puls is a wonderful mentor to female riders coming through the ranks.“Christine has been a career jockey, she’s had great longevity with it and she’s hard-working, dedicated and never complains,” O’Keeffe said.
“She’s a really strong mentor to the female riders, and I think she’s had a career she can be incredibly proud of.“She has been a support to so many fellow riders, apprentices and females in the industry, and that gives her enormous credit.”
Fellow jockey Chelsea Hall revealed Puls always takes time out from her raceday commitments to help the apprentices.“Christine always takes time to walk the track, go through our race rides and help with our riding,” Hall said.
“She really goes out of her way to help the apprentices, if someone’s down about their ride she’s always the first one to bring you back up, she’ll pull you aside so you don’t feel embarrassed.”The calibre of nominations in this year’s Lady of Racing Award made narrowing down the winner very difficult, according to the president of The Victorian Wakeful Club, Christine Downing.
“As we celebrate our silver anniversary, we are so pleased to see yet another strong woman and great mentor such as Christine be recognized,” she said.“The important thing to remember with these awards, is that celebrate and recognise the contribution of women from all levels within the industry.”
RV CEO Giles Thompson, who sits on the selection panel of the award, revealed the quality of candidates was extremely high this year.“The calibre of finalists this year was very impressive, and all have made a great contribution to racing. On top of her longevity in the saddle, it is Christine’s ongoing mentoring and support of our younger generation right across the state that makes her a deserved winner,” Thompson said.
The Lady of Racing Award was established in 1993 by The Victorian Wakeful Club.