Collett to ride 'The Count'

Newly licensed Kiwi rider booked by trainer Michael Clements for the $1 million Lion City Cup

Newly licensed jockey Alysha Collett has not ridden in a Kranji race yet, but that has not stopped the newcomer from landing a plum ride in one of the most prestigious races in Singapore - Countofmontecristo in the $1 million Group 1 Lion City Cup on Saturday week.

Here for six months, the 23-year-old New Zealander and winner of 400 races in a seven-year-long career will make her Kranji riding debut on Friday.

She is booked for six rides, including Makkem Lad for fellow Kiwi Donna Logan in the first leg of the Singapore Golden Horseshoe series for two-year-olds, the $90,000 Kranji Nursery Stakes (1,000m) on Friday and two rides on Sunday.

But Countofmontecristo's trainer Michael Clements didn't need to wait and see how she fared at her maiden outing to secure her services on his Singapore Champion Three-Year-Old.

The ride on "The Count" became vacant after Michael Rodd, his partner at the first two legs of the Singapore Sprint Series (both second), switched to Mister Yeoh after trainer Cliff Brown declared his smart three-year-old to run in the Lion City Cup two weeks ago.

Collett was still pinching herself that the ride aboard one of the star Singapore horses she had followed on TV had fallen on her lap.

"He's a horse I've seen on TV and I'm so rapt with the opportunity to ride him in the Group 1 sprint," she said.

"I was surprised when I was approached for the ride on Thursday, as he's such a good horse.

"It was only confirmed yesterday, and I'm more than happy to take it and give it my best shot.

"The trainer and owner (Joe Singh) have also put me on another horse (Theagenesofthasos) of theirs on Sunday. It's actually a good surprise to see the good support I got at my first week - six rides on Friday and two on Sunday."

Besides Makkem Lad, Collett's other rides include two for Leslie Khoo (Kubera's Chief and Come And Take All) and Burkaan trainer Mark Walker.

Clements said he was all for giving the Kiwi lass her chance. To him, Collett may be a newbie in Singapore, but her glowing credentials had preceded her.

"We've been looking at a few options, Corey Brown and even Joao Moreira. In the end, Corey couldn't make it as he's riding in Brisbane on that day, and if Joao was not able to ride, Alysha was on standby," said the Zimbabwean-born conditioner yesterday.

"Her track record in New Zealand is very good and I'm sure she has a bright future here. She is well up to holding her own here. She will gallop Countofmontecristo tomorrow. The horse is straightforward and easy to ride, and I'm sure she'll acquit herself well."