Brendon McCullum's new bat named Coup Ray after $12,000 auction bid for naming rights

Riverton jockey Rebecca Black was killed from injuries suffered in a race day fall at Gore in December.
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Riverton jockey Rebecca Black was killed from injuries suffered in a race day fall at Gore in December.

Brendon McCullum is happy with his newly named bat, Ray Coup, after Christchurch businessman Ray Coupland has paid $12,000 for the right to name it after one of his star horses.

McCullum tweeted he is looking forward to playing with the bat, after the naming rights were auctioned off at a charity dinner on Thursday night.

The auction, which raised more than $40,000 for the trust, was held at a dinner to remember Black, a Southland jockey who was killed in a race fall at Gore in December.

McCullum's bat will be called Coup Ray, after one of his gallopers who won 11 races and $300,000 on the track.

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McCullum, who names his bats after champion horses, will use Coup Ray for the remainder of his season with the Gujarat Lions in the IPL, before giving it to Coupland.

Black, 40, was a popular and well respected jockey in the South Island riding ranks and a mother of three. Her son, Caleb Mahon, 16, represented the family at the dinner and said it was perfect recognition for his mother.

"It means a lot, we appreciate it really. It's good to see so many people here. I'm not worried about the money, it's just the thought that counts." 

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The fund will help support Black's three children - Caleb, Sebastian, 18, and Lilly, 9.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen was the drawcard of the evening, sharing his career to date to a crowd of about 150.

While keeping things light for the most part, Hansen touched on career highlights and career lows, such as coaching the All Blacks to Rugby World Cup glory in 2015 and his run with the Wales rugby team.

"I learnt a lot about myself, was one of the most hated coaches. We set a few records, namely the most test losses in a row."

"I had a real problem, I was the second most hated man in polls. So I did some research and worked out if I could sing the national anthem they would think I was trying. Someone taught me how to mouth it, so people thought I could sing it."

When quizzed on the Lions squad naming only 24 hours earlier, Hansen said he hadn't really "taken too much interest", but said it was one of the better Lions sides he had seen picked in recent years. He wasn't surprised by any of the omissions or the selection of Sam Warburton as coach Warren Gatland's preferred captain.

"The coach/captain bond is a pretty unique one, it's one where you have trust, so there is no surprise that he's picked his Welsh captain to come along for the trip."

Hansen's racing background dates back to his childhood when his parents were dairy farmers near Mosgiel, Dunedin.

"Dad had always been around racing, so it was always natural that because I was a little bit smaller I would ride them. i don't know what happened there, but i outgrew it a bit."

His two passions, rugby and racing, were his hot topics of the night and he even compared jockeys to referees.

"Jockeys are like referees, they're the smartest ones in the industry. You don't need to tell them what to do, you've just got to hope you've got a good one on the day."

Hansen admitted that although he has enjoyed his successful coaching career, he would probably give it all up to have worn the silver fern himself.

"Didn't do a lot at school, went there and ate my lunch and played sport. Like every boy I wanted to be an All Black but wasn't good enough."

 

 - Stuff

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