A rollercoaster week that saw her ride a pair of winning doubles while coping with the loss of a beloved family member has made for a mixed start to the new year for top jockey Lisa Allpress.
After picking up a brace of wins at the Tauherenikau meeting at the end of December, Allpress was back in winning action again at Awapuni on January 8 where she guided the Kevin Gray-trained sprinter Stumpy to victory in race three before repeating the dose aboard the Lisa Latta-trained Wild Moose in race 5.
The win on Wild Moose in a race named in honour of thoroughbred enthusiast Kelvin Woodmass, who passed away in 2018, held special significance for Allpress after losing her husband Karl's grandfather Stan during the week.
"It has been a pretty tough week as Karl's granddad Stan passed away. I wore a black armband for all my rides on Saturday and I was thrilled to win the race named in honour of Kelvin Woodmass as his children went to school with mine and we know the family well. His wife Mel sent me a lovely message afterwards which was very special."
Allpress believes that Wild Moose has plenty more wins in store for his trainer and connections after producing a tenacious effort to take out the open 1600m contest.
"He has always appealed as a horse that looked like he would be better as he matured. If you look at his overall record he has run second and third to some very smart horses including Bonham and Vigor Winner.
"He did all the work in front and was there to be run down, but to his credit, he fought them off and I think that now he has the experience under his belt he can go on to better things."
Allpress was also delighted to pick up another win aboard Stumpy for her former employer, Kevin Gray, with the 8-year-old in a purple patch of form having won three of his last four starts.
"He (Stumpy) has always had the ability, but he was a real menace as he just wanted to rip and tear into everything he did. He was just so fiery and would throw tantrums like a little kid at times. He has really grown up of late and has been winning like a very good horse.
"There was plenty of speed on Saturday and I got back a little, but he was very strong in the closing stages and he hasn't finished winning yet."
With the first day of the Wellington Cup carnival at Trentham commencing next Saturday, Allpress is keen to make her mark and is delighted to snare a ride on a leading prospect in the Gr.1 JR & N Berkett Telegraph (1200m).
"I've just picked up the ride on Roch 'N' Horse in the Telegraph, which I am thrilled about.
"She had no luck in the Railway (Gr.1, 1200m) on New Year's Day and I think she is a real chance on Saturday. I've also committed to riding Southern Ocean for Terri Rae in the Trentham Stakes (Gr.3, 2100m) and he is another good chance for me.
"His form was superb before he struck a tricky track for the Metropolitan Trophy at Riccarton (Listed, 2500m) and was then scratched from the New Zealand Cup (Gr.3, 3200m). He has had the one run since where he really got home nicely to finish just behind the placings in the Timaru Stakes (Listed, 1600m)."
She says it's a good time of the year to be riding winners.
"I'm hoping with the form I'm in that people are taking notice and I can secure a few more mounts throughout the Trentham carnival."