A female jockey made history at the King Abdulaziz Racecourse today, with Lisa Allpress becoming the first woman to win a horse race in Saudi Arabia. The New Zealander won the first race of the International Jockeys Challenge, sponsored by stc, on Matmon. The race was the third race on the card of the Saudi Cup meeting in Riyadh, which culminates with the $20 million Saudi Cup on Saturday.
Allpress beat French jockey Olivier Peslier into second place, while other famous riders taking part in the race including Japan’s Yutake Take, Frankie Dettori, Mickaelle Michel from France, Nicola Currie, and Mike Smith. The stc Kingdom Day International Jockeys Challenge featured seven of the best male and seven of the best female riders in the world.
Allpress said: “I just feel lucky that I’m here to start with and then to be out there is amazing. Honestly, we were walking around at the start and you hear those names called out and you know you’re in racing royalty. I read Frankie Dettori’s book when I was an apprentice and watched Mike Smith on television so it’s great to see them. My mum said to me before I left ‘now don’t get starstruck Lisa, just stick to the game plan.’ I’ve never really thought of myself as a female jockey though, I’m just a jockey out there doing a job.”
International Venue Management (IVM) has been at the forefront of the organisation of the Saudi Cup event, with its team of experts managing a range of disciplines ranging from marketing to food and beverage and sponsorship.