Lisa Allpress has picked up the ride on Leading Role in the group one New Zealand Derby after a late change of plans by Chris Johnson.

Johnson had been engaged to take the mount at Ellerslie on Saturday and trainer Gary Vile was thrilled to have him aboard. However, that mood changed yesterday when Vile received a call from Johnson's manager, John Tanahill, to say Johnson would instead be staying south to ride at Wingatui,

"It came as a shock," Vile said. "It's pretty ordinary of him. But I'm very happy to have Lisa on. I've no fears about her riding him in the Derby.

"She has ridden lots of winners for me and she's hungry."


Ruakaka trainers Donna Logan and Chris Gibbs have been dealt a double blow within 24 hours going into the Auckland Cup carnival.

The stable will be down to one runner, Wyndspelle, in the $1m Derby, after being forced to withdraw Romancer through a minor injury, while a tendon problem has ruled St Jean out of the group one $500,000 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup and ended his racing career.

Romancer's withdrawal ensures Beaumarchais, the only horse sitting outside the final 18, will gain a start. Beaumarchais will give Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards a two-pronged attack, headed by Avondale Guineas winner Gingernuts.

Beaumarchais will be ridden by Michael McNab, while stable rider Opie Bosson will climb aboard Gingernuts.

- NZ Racing Desk