Four-time premiership-winning jockey Lisa Allpress has recently taken an enforced injury layoff from the sport, but returned to raceday riding at Otaki last Friday, with her motivation for winning as strong as ever.
Noted as one of New Zealand’s most successful jockeys since her career commenced as an apprentice in 2002, Allpress faced a shoulder reconstruction following a bad fall five years ago that impacted her strength on race day over the busy summer period.
“I’ve been away for four months now after having pretty much a shoulder reconstruction,” Allpress said.
“I went into the operation thinking it was just going to be a few tucks and screws, but it ended up being quite a huge thing and the surgery was quite intensive.”
Her surgeon suggested a six-month rest period following the operation, however, four months later she was back in the jockeys room fulfilling commitments at Otaki.
“It was meant to be six months, but I was back on a horse within three-and-a-half, and I’ve been back riding trackwork for three weeks now on and off.
“It’s healed up really well, but I’ll just be taking it slowly for the next couple of months.”
Allpress made an appearance at the jump outs prior to committing to rides at Otaki and ended up riding seven runners through the day, giving her the confidence to return to raceday riding.
“I really wanted to kick off just before the new season, there are some nice two-year-olds looking forward to the three-year-old campaigns and a few nice horses around that I had kept my eye on and spoken to a few trainers.
“I always wanted to hit the new season running and I feel pretty refreshed to get back into it.”
Allpress became the first female in New Zealand to ride 1000 winners in 2013, a haul a decade later she has almost doubled, being just 145 winners away from putting 2000 winners to her name.
“To ride 2000 winners would be a dream come true, the closer I get to it the more you start thinking about it,” she said.
“To be the first woman in New Zealand to ride 1000 winners was pretty special and I’d love to go down in history as the only woman to ride 2000 winners, and being the first one to do that is a massive drive.”
Having on three occasions produced more than 145 winners in a season, Allpress possesses the capabilities to reach her target within the next season.
“I’d love to get it all done next season but to be fair I thought I’d whack away before the shoulder surgery and get it done but it definitely held me up,” she said.
“In saying that, it has also revitalised me, I’ve had a few months off and it has refocussed me, I know what I want to do, I want to get out there and ride winners.”
With just two weeks left in the 2022-2023 season and despite her hiatus, Allpress remains in the top 10 on the Jockey’s Premiership with 60 wins, with her last ride before surgery also being a winner aboard the Kevin Gray-trained Always More at Trentham in March.
Allpress most recently took out the top jockey’s award in the 2019/2020 season, the same year she was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit the New Year Honours for services to the racing industry.
Allpress’s motivation to ride good horses and produce winners has never faltered over her two decades in the sport, assisted by her love for the animal.
“I stay motivated and driven mostly because I love riding, I love getting out there on the horses,” she said.
“What keeps me motivated is the thrill of getting out there and getting a win.”