NEW Zealand’s Champion jockey, Lisa Allpress, has earned a shot at global fortune and fame with an invitation to the inaugural Kingdom Day Jockey Challenge in Saudi Arabia later this month.
Allpress is one of 14 international riders invited to compete in a four-race at the King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh the day before the running of the inaugural $US20 million Saudi Cup on February 29.
“I know there will be 14 of us, seven males and seven females, but I don’t know who they are at this stage,’ Allpress said.
“I also know there is $US1.6 million spread across four races on the day before the Saudi Cup and there is a prize pool of $US100,000 for the winning rider. I am so happy my achievements over the years attracts invitations like these – it makes all the hard work worthwhile,” Allpress said.
She has earned her invitation off the back of her third New Zealand jockey’s premierships nailed last season with 133 winners. The 45-year-old mother of two is no stranger to international challenges. Last year she competed in the World All Stars Jockeys series at Sapporo Racecourse in Hokkaido, Japan.
“I have yet to ride in the Middle East, although I have visited Dubai before. I will be doing my best to win. I’m not sure of the rules yet, but I guess we will each draw horses in the four races and take it from there.”
The Saudi Cup is to become the richest horse race in the sport’s history after the prize money for the inaugural contest in Riyadh was confirmed to be $US20 million.
“The introduction of the Saudi Cup as an international race, is without doubt the most significant event in the history of horse racing in Saudi Arabia, and demonstrates our resolve to develop this great sport in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and also our ambition to become a leading player on horse racing’s world stage,” HRH Prince Bandar bin Khalid Al Faisal, the chairman of the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia, said.b