Mike Smith Wins Inaugural Stc International Jockeys Challenge
US Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith won the International Jockeys Challengewhich featured 14 invited riders from around the globe. With Smith’s two success from four rounds of the competition, saw him out on his own in front, Lisa Allpress had already achieved a notable milestone in the opening leg, the US$400,000 STC Dare, as she became the first female jockey to ride a winner in Saudi Arabia.
The multi-decorated 54-year-old, who boasts the 2018 Triple Crown among his numerous honours, stole an easy lead in round two, the US$400,000 stc Cloud over 1600m, aboard the Saleh Suliman Alhamd-owned Sun Hat which he never looked likely to relinquish. Then in round three, the US$400,000 stc Pay over 1800m, he again finished well clear aboard the consistent Paris, in the colours of Sharaf Mohammed S. Al Hariri. "At my age I’m stoked to win this jockeys challenge,” said Smith. “I’m so happy and very blessed. I was hoping to do well in the challenge and then we have the Saudi Cup tomorrow and I’m really, really looking forward to tomorrow. I think my filly tomorrow in the Saudi Cup, Midnight Bisou is going to love this track, she acts like she will. “I’m proud to start the time I’m here off by winning tonight in great fashion. I’ll be back, I love this place and I love that dirt course out there. It’s the best dirt course I’ve been on. It’s very kind and very good for a horse and America should really take a look at this surface. Man, it’s kind and when it feels kind it is kind. I absolutely loved it."
Lisa Allpress was one of seven female jockeys making their debuts in Saudi Arabia and she was delighted to be part of the event. A multiple champion in her homeland of New Zealand, Allpress had to wait until late in the day as Olivier Peslier, riding Motayammen, was in full control in the lead. However, with 400m remaining, his horse began to falter and Allpress, riding Matmon, began to close. Just before the line, Matmon put his head past Motayammen and Allpress, wearing the white colours of King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Sons, punched her fist in celebration.
"I came here with no expectations, I just wanted to enjoy the experience, but we have been very well looked after and I want to thank everyone who has organised it," said Allpress. "That means a lot. I’m just so thankful to get the invite to come here.