There was no love lost between Kelly McCulloch and Rosie Myers at the end of a testing Group 3 New Zealand Cup at Riccarton yesterday.

The sisters fought out a desperate finish in the Christchurch Casino-sponsored marathon with the older sibling gaining the upper hand on the line aboard Pump Up The Volume by half a head.

Trained by part-owner Ralph Manning, the genuine son of Savabeel came wide on the home turn and finished doggedly to take the major prize from Myers' mount Perfect Start.

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

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

Pump Up The Volume relaxed well toward the back of the field before improving 800m from home when the well-supported Nymph Monte also made his move.

"I got on the back of the favourite and I knew I was going better than him," McCulloch said.

It was the 33-year-old's third Cup victory having won aboard Hoorang in 2008 and with Mungo Jerry in 2014.

Perfect Start also settled at the tail-end but, unlike her sister, Myers came between runners on the Wayne Hillis-trained outsider and that nearly proved a winning move for the 29-year-old.

Imperium ran on gallantly to take third from Gentil Tonton and hot-pot Nymph Monte was next home. He was under pressure before the turn and boxed on well.

- NZ Racing Desk