Lisa Allpress has good reason to get a win in her first two rides at Tauherenikau today.
Last season's champion jockey goes into today's Wairarapa Breeders' Stakes meeting on 999 New Zealand wins and naturally she wants to get the milestone under her belt as soon as possible.
Allpress will become the first female jockey to reach 1000 wins in New Zealand and she would love to bring up the milestone on a horse trained by her former master Kevin Gray.
Her first two rides are the Gray-trained pair of Elusive Law and debutante Optimistic in races two and three.
"I've got some nice rides tomorrow but I really hope I can pull it off in either race two or three," she said.
"It would mean the world to me if I could get my 1000th winner on a horse trained by Mr Gray. I did my apprenticeship with him and he's always been one of my biggest supporters."
An early win would also take the pressure off Allpress ahead of the feature, the Listed $50,000 Pioneer Finance Wairarapa Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes (1600m) in which she rides the David Haworth and Matt Dixon-trained Kekova.
"I've only ridden her once for one win and she should go really well," Allpress said.
"Matt rang me last month for the ride when Hayden [Tinsley] committed to one of Mr Gray's [Scarlet O'Hara] and I've been looking forward to it ever since."
Kekova was fifth in the Gr III Manawatu Challenge Stakes at Awapuni last start, chasing home Mufhasa, Better Than Ever, Final Touch and Pero, with each of those four nominated for Gr I features this week.
Before that she resumed with a second placing to Ginner Hart at Hastings, finished fifth in the Listed Lion Red Plate at Rotorua, second in the Listed Canterbury Breeders' Stakes and fourth in the Listed Levin Stakes.
TAB bookmakers yesterday installed her as a $4.60 second favourite for the Tauherenikau feature behind I Do at $2.80. Scarlet O'Hara is the third favourite at $8 ahead of L'Amour at $9.
Allpress was also upbeat about her chances in the Wairarapa Cup, in which she rides the Karen Zimmerman-trained Celebration.
Allpress, who was formerly based at Matamata, returns to Waikato this weekend to ride at the Te Rapa premier meeting.
She partners the John Sargent-trained Quintessential in the Gr I Waikato Draught Sprint (1400m) and Cassini in the Gr I Darci Brahma International Stakes (2000m), while her other rides include A'Larose, Coercion, Cat Woman, Supreme Lady and Take Charge.
- © Fairfax NZ News