Lisa Allpress believes she is "back on track" following her Wellington Cup victory on Blood Brotha at Trentham on Saturday.
It was a win Allpress needed.
The Whanganui rider and 2012 premiership winner was in need of a boost after being badly shaken by Ashlee Mundy's death late last month.
Mundy suffered fatal injuries in a race fall at Kurow and Allpress, who rode in the same race, spoke candidly yesterday of her mental state since Mundy's accident.
"I was really knocked for a six and I haven't been confident out there [on the track] since the accident. It gave me a big fright.
"It was a horrible thing and showed that everyone is vulnerable. She was a good rider and it was a freaky thing that happened.
"I was at the back of the field [at Kurow]. I could see it all happen in front of me and had to go around Ashlee and Toni [Direen, who also fell in the incident]. It was just an awful, awful thing.
"Ashlee wasn't a best friend but was someone I'd known for a long time and you think about her family and her close friends.
"I shouldn't have ridden at Stratford [the next day]. I was an emotional mess.
"The worst part was that I had to ride a horse for [trainer] John Sargent in the first [in the stable colours that Mundy had worn in her fatal fall] and I don't think I coped at all."
However, Allpress has no doubt that her unexpected Wellington Cup triumph will mark a turnaround in her fortunes. "It's good to get [a big] one under your belt and I'm back on track now. I feel a lot more confident."
Allpress also has much to look forward to in February, including rides on Quintessential in the Waikato Sprint at Te Rapa on February 9 and on Ocean Park in the Haunui Classic at Otaki on February 23.
Allpress, who won the Group I Makfi Stakes on Ocean Park in the spring, rode the Cox Plate winner in an exhibition gallop at Matamata 10 days ago and again at Ellerslie last evening.
"I'm very excited about riding him again. He felt good and really bouncy when he galloped at Matamata."
Blood Brotha was the eighth favourite in an 18-horse field for the Wellington Cup.
"I didn't think he could win," Allpress said. "I thought the Auckland Cup [in March] would suit him."
- The Dominion Post
What effect will a potential ban on booze at Rugby Sevens 2015 have on you?Related story: Booze ban hovers over sevens