It's just gone 5.45am, Kranji Racecourse, Singapore. Out of the gloom rocks Alysha Collett on her $200 motorised scooter. It's a popular mode of transport in Singapore but it's absolutely the New Zealand jockey's favourite conveyance.

Her worst - planes. Along with cousin, New Zealand's premiership leader Sam Collett, Alysha has been New Zealand's busiest jockey these past two years before landing a prized Singapore contract.

Her new base in Singapore is a breath of fresh air.

"At home, I was flying from Auckland Airport south to race meetings four times a week, at least half the time to the South Island, then riding at the weekend from home.


"It was hard but I like winning, so it made it worth it. But riding on wet tracks through the New Zealand winter is hard going on your body.

"When last winter finished and summer racing started, I was still stuffed from riding our winter racing."

Collett said the hardest swallow was getting up at 3am, driving to the airport from Pukekohe, flying to the South Island and having the meeting abandoned before race one.

"You might drive to New Plymouth, be told of an abandonment and have to drive home."

She has the opposite problem since she arrived in Singapore seven weeks ago: "Finding something to fill in the days."

Most jockeys are required to ride trackwork seven days a week in Singapore but with racing only Friday nights and Sunday afternoon, a jockey's life is a breeze, especially if no real wasting is required and Collett is a natural lightweight who eats what she likes.

"I'm home by 10.30am every day, with the entire day to myself."

To eat up the hours, she is studying nutrition. Test her and, yep, she knows her stuff.

"I also go exploring," which after a question or two she admits is mainly a euphemism for shopping. "I love shoes. I've bought 10 more pairs since I've been here."

Three winners have jumped in and she is steadily gaining respect from the international trainers' bench, which quickly recognised her talent and determination to win.

One of her big supporters is another ex-pat Kiwi, Donna Logan.

"I love Alysha's attitude. She's as bubbly as she was at home but it masks a real desire to win."

Collett is the only woman rider currently licensed on a medium term contract in male-oriented Singapore and she's hoping she will get an extension.

"The three winners will help, and the rides are coming quicker now that's been achieved."

New Zealand women jockeys have a big reputation in Singapore after what was achieved by the likes of Kim Clapperton and Lisa Allpress.

The money is good. In Singapore, jockeys are paid a percentage of the total stakes, not the stake their horse earns. For finishing third in the S$1 million Lion City Cup on Countofmontecristo on May 25, Collett picked up S$10,000. For finishing second on Zac Cruiser, Craig Grylls went home with S$20,000. The riding fee is S$250 ($275).

Grylls and Collett, nearby neighbours, are regular barbecue visitors at Donna Logan's. Collett says one supposed benefit of not being at home is her love of jumping horses.

"I was schooling horses at Ann Browne's and I loved it. I'm a little pleased I'm not at home, I might be riding over fences."

No. She's definitely in the right place.