Exciting Finish To Jockey Title

Oamaru race course was the unlikely venue for one of the best finishes of last season.
The last day of the 2011/ 12 racing season at Oamaru last Monday determined who would win the National Jockey Premiership.
The thrilling finish for the honour, went down to the wire.
Eventually the title went to Lisa Allpress over Matt Cameron.
The battle between Allpress and Cameron added much interest to the just completed racing season.
When premiership favourite James McDonald signalled his intention to ride extensively overseas, Cameron looked his likely successor.
As the retained rider for the powerful Te Akau Stable, Cameron seemed to have his first national title in his grasp.   
With several weeks of the season remaining, Cameron seemed to have an unassailable 15 win advantage over Allpress.
However, the fiercely competitive Allpress wasn’t ready to concede the title.
“I decided if I was ever going to win a premiership, this would be it” said Allpress after securing the title.
Allpress kicked home Captain Cruising to win at Oamaru which saw off Cameron’s challenge by 159 wins to 156.
“It’s a great relief and I’m quite chuffed to have done it” said Allpress.
As with all previous premiership winners, Allpressed acknowlegded a ” team effort”.
“All the travelling around the country can be difficult especially with a young family, but my support crew have been outstanding” said Allpress.
Husband Karl was an integral part of that success.
“He has been brilliant, looking after everything at home while I’ve been chasing the title ” said Allpress.
Ironically, Allpress also had McDonald to thank for her successful title bid.
“James suggested I use his manager Gary Cossey, over the last few weeks of the season to help get my rides, especially in the north” said Allpress.
Cossey has been instrumental in helping McDonald to his premiership titles, and that became evident to Allpress.
“Gary’s knowlegde of form and his ability to select the right rides is second to none” said Allpress.
Allpress also acknowleged the outstanding support of owners and trainers throughout the season.
“Everyone was so supportive of my title bid and I’m thankful for that ” she said.
While reluctant to single out any one in particular, Allpress did appreciate the support from Matamata trainer ,John Sargent.
Obviously with husband  Karl having previously trained in partnership with “Sarge”, there was already a close association with the stable.
“Sarge provided me with so many winners during the season and it was appropriate win 159 came aboard one of his horses” said Allpress.
Incidentally, Sargent also claimed his first national title, winning the Trainer’s Premiership  with a record breaking 111 wins for the season.
While Allpress was quick to praise her support crew, there is no doubt in my mind Allpress thoroughly deserved her title.
A natural lightweight rider, Allpress has always been a very good rider.
Apprenticed to astute mentor of apprentices Kevin Gray, Allpress has continued to develop her riding skills over the years.
Aligned with a fierce determination to succeed, Allpress was always going to be successful.
And so it has proved.
Congratulations Lisa.
Finally……..Allpress winning the premiership would normally guarantee her being named Jockey of the Year.
That will be announced next month at the annual Racing Awards.
However, there is a bloke called McDonald who is standing in the way.
Although finishing behind Allpress and Cameron on the premiership, James McDonald may still claim the accolade of Jockey of the Year.
He had a commanding lead on the premiership before embarking on more overseas success. 
McDonald’s amazing season included Group One wins in NZ, Australia and Hong Kong.
He completely dominated the Auckland Cup week in March, before taking on the best in Australia and Hong Kong.
Winning the Champion’s Mile in Hong Kong aboard Xtension catapulted McDonald further on to the international stage.
And it maybe that win which will ensure McDonald claims another Jockey of the Year title.
It should be an interesting race.
I’ll catch you next week.