Title race all over bar the shouting as Lisa Allpress rides six weekend winners

Horse Racing Lisa Allpress jockey
Lisa Allpress: all but clinched fourth jockeys’ title with six weekend winners. Photo: Nicky Gray

By NZ Racing Desk

New Zealand: TAB bookmakers have put up the white flag and are paying out on Lisa Allpress retaining her crown in the NZ national jockeys’ premiership. She will be winning the title for the fourth time altogether.

Allpress, 45, rode six winners over the weekend – a double with Happy Star and Penelope Cruise at Awapuni on Saturday, then a four-timer at Timaru’s Phar Lap Raceway on Sunday for trainer Terri Rae on Painted Red, Scarfi, Hatrick Boys and Newmarket.

With 93 winners to her name, the jockey is 15 clear of her nearest rival, the star apprentice Kozzi Asano, with just two weeks and six meetings left in a season tipped upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Horse Racing Lisa Allpress and Terri Rae
Lisa Allpress (left) teamed up with trainer Terri Rae for four winners at Timaru on Sunday. Photo: Race Images South

Allpress is delighted to sit atop the premiership once again, the fourth time in a career that began back in the 1995/96 season when she began an apprenticeship with master trainer Kevin Gray.

Over the ensuing 24 years she has amassed nearly 1,600 victories at home plus over 100 international wins from riding stints in Singapore, Japan and most recently a history-making success in Saudi Arabia at the inaugural Saudi Cup meeting in February, when she became the first female jockey to win in the kingdom.

Allpress is adamant that a fourth jockeys’ title wasn’t her priority from the start of the campaign.

Horse Racing Sybille Vogt Mike Smith Lisa Allpress Mickaelle Michel jockeys
Lisa Allpress (second right) with Sybille Vogt, Mike Smith and Mickaelle Michel after the Saudi Arabian male v female jockey challenge. Photo: Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia/Doug De Felice

“It’s one of those things that wasn’t in the plan at the start of the season,” she said. “I just kept whacking away and managed to get on some nice horses that kept winning.

“I really had just set out to try and get on some nice horses out of the trials and jumpouts and following them through to the races which was working nicely.

“I was going fairly well leading into my trip away to Saudi Arabia so I decided to get Aidan Rodley, my agent, to help me finish off the season well so it has definitely been a combined effort with him.”

Amongst her New Zealand career victories are 96 at stakes level, a figure that Allpress is keen to see reach the 100-mark over the next 12 months along with several more personal goals she has set for herself.

“It is definitely a goal to get to 100 stakes wins so hopefully I can do that this season,” she said.

“I’ve also got several trainers that I am getting close to riding 100 winners for so that would be really special if I could do that too.

“They include Michael Pitman, Wayne Marshment and my first boss, Kevin Gray, so I would really like to get that done.

“I’d like to think that achievement reflects the loyalty we have had for each other since I started as they are stables I have ridden for ever since I first started.”

While Allpress would also dearly love to defend her premiership title she is relaxed about her prospects for next season. “I’m not really sure what is going to happen next season but I know there are some really lovely young horses coming through that I am keen to be involved with,” she said.

“Mr Gray and Johno Benner and Hollie Wynyard have some really nice youngsters I’d like to ride when they get up and running.

“It will definitely be a quieter start for me though which I’m looking forward to and I will just take things as they come.”

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