Raceday jitters are no concern to Wanganui jockey Lisa Allpress as she strives to become the first New Zealand woman rider to chalk up 1000 career wins - and today could be the day.
Sitting on 998 wins, Allpress has five mounts at the Hawke's Bay meeting at Hastings and on paper, at least, several look serious winning chances.
And while she is hoping for a grand day at Hastings, Allpress is content to let the milestone happen naturally.
"It will happen when it happens and that's okay," Allpress said yesterday.
In recent weeks wins have been scarce by her own tough standards, suggesting she may have been suffering from the "nervous nineties" syndrome, a suggestion Allpress dismisses. When winning last season's national jockey's premiership, Allpress' strike rate was something like a victory every seven or so rides
"I did try not to think about it, but it's hard not to when you are this close and every time I do ride a winner lately I think 'yay, that's another one closer'. It could happen at Hastings. I do have a couple of nice rides, but I'm quite happy to just let it happen."
On Saturday Allpress was at her winning best with a truly magnificent ride on the Whangaehu-trained Blood Brotha in the group two Wellington Cup for Raymond Connors. And then on Monday at the Whakatane meeting at Te Teko, Allpress kicked home favourite Clara Jane in the first before finishing a close second and posting two thirds later in the day.
"Then there was only a nose or so in it when I finished second on Somoza [race three] at Te Teko. It would have been nice to get another one closer, but it just wasn't to be on the day," she lamented.
Hawke's Bay Racing Club operations manager Kim Treweek, himself a former top jockey, said plans were in place to celebrate the Allpress milestone should it happen today.
"We'll certainly mark the occasion if Lisa can do it here at Hastings," Treweek said yesterday.
If the milestone is not reached today Allpress gets the chance either at the Canterbury meeting tomorrow or on Saturday where she has a nice book of rides at the premier Otago meeting at Wingatui.
While the diminutive rider has a large band of loyal fans barracking for to reach the 1000 mark, interest is also strong across the Tasman.
"I've been getting two or three calls a week from the Australian [racing] press, " she said.
Lisa Allpress' mounts at Hastings today
Lightning Lass: Allpress fell from the horse at the start fresh up two starts ago, then battled home for fourth last go with another rider up.
Xibit: Allpress has to ride this Foxton galloper, but it is showing enough to mount a winning challenge.
Coljoy: Not ridden before, but was running home okay last start at Woodville.
La Hoya: Allpress guided the Thorn Park gelding to a close second last start.
Floral Scent: Ridden twice before for a win and a third in the past. Placed at Wellington Cup carnival.