The Whanganui racing fraternity has again punched well above its weight dominating several premiership categories for the 2018/2019 season ended yesterday.
Lisa Allpress and Jonathan Parkes produced the quinella in the jockey's premiership, while once again Kevin Myers smashed his rivals in the jumps training ranks. This was at least Myers' sixth jumps premiership in succession.
Allpress was the star of the show though, leading the jockey's challenge with 133 wins, 91 seconds and 96 thirds for $2.48 million in stakes, while Parkes finished second with 118 wins, 78 seconds, 56 thirds and $2.32 in stakes.
Being a natural lightweight Allpress was able to travel and ride at far more meetings than Parkes who needs to waste to maintain weight for racedays, while ensuring he has time off to allow his body to recover.
Allpress had 815 rides for a strike rate of 6.13, while Parkes rode 601 races for a strike rate of 5.09. The pair were well clear of 2014/2015 premiership winner Matt Cameron who rode just 93 winners, one ahead of last year's champion Samantha Collett on 92.
Myers, who also finished eighth on the flat trainers premiership with 52 winners, easily won the jumping premiership with 19 victories, 13 ahead of his nearest rival Team Rogerson. He was also the leading Central Districts trainer, three wins ahead of Manawatu's Lisa Latta.
Myers' son Luke is also leading the Flair Series for amateur riders with six of the 15 races to run. Young Myers has 47 points, while fellow Whanganui amateur Emma Quinn sits third on 26 points.
Allpress 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 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 Whanganui 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 rounded off her premiership-winning season at Otaki last Saturday where she combined with the Stephen Marsh-trained Sai Fah to win the Listed Courtesy Ford Ryder Stakes (1200m), the final black type race on the New Zealand calendar.
The 44-year-old also chalked up another significant career milestone with the Sai Fah victory reaching 1500 wins in New Zealand that included this season's 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.
"I'd just like to thank all those people who have helped throughout the season and hopefully I can repeat the success again next year. I'm very happy and content where I am with my family around me, the farm to look after and the support I receive," Allpress said.