The hot favourite to win the New Zealand jockey's premiership says that is not the focus of her comeback to racing on Thursday.

But without trying Lisa Allpress finds herself locked in battle with southern rider Kozzi Asano for the title.

Neither Allpress nor Asano rode at thoroughbred racing's comeback meeting at Pukekohe last Saturday so will resume their huge seasons at Wanganui on Thursday.

Asano has been a revelation this season, emerging from nowhere to at one stage hold a huge lead on the jockey's table but a dynamic few months before lock down saw Allpress catch him and then establish a six-win buffer.


Third-placed Sam Collett, who sits three wins further back, won't resume race riding until Te Rapa on Saturday week and won't travel south to chase the title.

With racing, like so much of the world, tipped upside down by Covid-19 the premiership could have petered out if either Allpress or Asano had chosen not to travel between islands to ride.

But they both have so it is game on from Thursday, where they clash in seven races, even if the premiership isn't the main goal now.

"I just want to get back to riding," Allpress told the Herald.

"I really missed it in lock down and I can't wait to get back out there on raceday.

"So I will ride at Wanganui and then at Riccarton on Saturday but that isn't because I am chasing the premiership. I am getting back to doing what I love as well paying the bills."

The fact Asano will travel north from his Canterbury base even though he can only ride in seven of the 11 races because four of them are highweights which he is ineligible for, suggest he has not given up yet either.

Asano gets strong support when he rides in the central districts as well as at home so he and Allpress will be seeing plenty of each other over the last five weeks of the season, even though it will take something special for the southern rider to deny Allpress her third national premiership.


Both tomorrow's meeting and the Riccarton one on Saturday have had huge entries after originally not being carded, with thoroughbred racing's return initially scheduled for July 3 but brought forward by two weeks.