New Zealand: Reigning champion jockey Lisa Allpress, who became the first woman to ride a winner in Saudi Arabia in February, has been honoured by her country with the award of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
The accolade recognises her outstanding service to horse racing and is second only to the country’s highest accolade, the Order of New Zealand, in the national honours system.
“I’m really humbled by it,” said Whanganui-based Allpress, 45. “I’ve just had a long conversation with Mum and she’s so proud of me. It goes back to all that support, all the hours Mum and Dad put into me and my riding from a young age – and I’m just so grateful for my massive family support.”
Allpress is a four-time national premiership winner who has ridden 1,630 winners in New Zealand, six at Group 1 level.
She has ridden all around the world but gained international recognition in Riyadh when she beat a field of international riders to win the first race staged in Saudi Arabia involving professional female jockeys.
“Competing against Frankie Dettori and Ryan Moore and other world-class jockeys, to do that on that sort of stage was a dream come true,” Allpress said.
“Representing New Zealand on any international stage is very special. When you get your name called out at those events saying you are representing New Zealand, every time you get the same chills.”