Lisa Allpress has achieved a major career goal with an invitation to ride in the World All-Stars Jockeys series in Japan.
Allpress announced the invitation on social media this week, posting: “Smiling because I’m off to Japan! So happy to be invited to the world jockey series in Sapporo 24th and 25th August.”
The now three-time national premiership-winning jockey said she had always envied the likes of David Walsh and Lance O’Sullivan getting to ride in the Japanese event and desperately wanted to participate herself.
“It’s something I set my sights on from when Karl and I moved to Wanganui about seven years ago. I wanted to win a premiership so I could get that trip to Japan,” Allpress said.
While she was gutted to miss out on an invitation to the series after her first two premiership wins, Allpress gets to fulfil her dream next month.
“When I started riding, I remember David Walsh, Lance O’Sullivan and Jim Collett getting to go to Japan for that series, then Leith Innes and Opie Bosson later on, and I thought it would be so cool to win a premiership so I could compete on the world stage as an international rider,” she said.
“It’s taken a while and there’s been a couple of disappointments but I’m rapt that I’ll actually get my chance now. This will be the fourth time I’ve ridden in Japan but the first time I’ve ridden at Sapporo.”
Allpress, who has completed riding contracts in Singapore and Japan, rode in the Shergar Cup jockeys series at Ascot in 2013 and follows on from last season’s premiership winner Sam Collett, who finished 13th in the 2018 World All-Stars Jockeys won by Christophe Lemaire.
Allpress will round off her premiership-winning season at Otaki on Saturday where she combines with the Stephen Marsh-trained Sai Fah in the Listed Courtesy Ford Ryder Stakes (1200m).
The Rios colt is a $5.50 second favourite with TAB bookmakers behind London Bound at $2.50 after a strong win at Te Rapa last Saturday.
“He’s shown a lot of form all the way through. To win the first two-year-old race of the season and go on to win in July takes some doing and that’s a credit to Stephen Marsh and his team. He’s a very good ride to have,” Allpress said.
“It’s a strong field, with the likes of London Bound and Jager Bombed, but I’m quite happy to be riding my horse. I’m happy with the draw (barrier nine) too. A lot will depend on how the track is running but by then we’ll know the best part of the track and from there we won’t be stuck down on the inside anyway.”
Allpress, who needs just three victories to bring up 1500 wins in New Zealand, held off her good mate Johnathan Parkes to win the premiership in a season where she has won 130 races, including the Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham aboard the Lisa Latta-trained Sentimental Miss.
She was especially delighted to secure the premiership after a horrific jumpout fall in 2017 left her with shoulder injuries that threatened her career.
“It’s very satisfying, especially to come back from an injury that at some stages of my recovery I’d had thoughts that I might not even ride again. From not being able to dress myself to winning a premiership the next season, I really feel like I’ve achieved something.”