Sam Collett is one short of 500 career wins.
Sam Collett is too busy being a jockey to keep tabs on her career tally.
That’s why she got a surprise today when www.theinformant.co.nz touched base to hear her thoughts about the one win she needs to reach the milestone mark of 500.
“I knew I was getting somewhere near it but I didn’t realise I had just one more to go,” said the 27-year-old, who reached 499 wins at Taupo yesterday with a daring ride on 40-to-one longshot Vino Blanco.
From last at the top of the short straight, Collett somehow found her way through the inside on the Hastings four-year-old to grab the lead off Trois Vallees right on the line.
“I knew I couldn’t win by going round them so I checked to see if there was room up the inside,” she said. “There was a bit of a gap there, it didn’t start off very large but the further I went the wider it got and in the end there was plenty of room.
“It wasn’t by much but she would have been unlucky if she hadn’t got up.”
Tirau-based Collett and her Pukekohe cousin Alysha have been New Zealand’s two busiest jockeys of late, posting respective career-best tallies of 80 and 97 last season. After finishing second on the 2016-17 premiership, Alysha is the current leader with 19 wins while her cousin is on 10.
Tomorrow morning they will be on the same flight from Auckland to Timaru for engagements at the Washdyke meeting, then back north for Matamata on Saturday.
“I’ve got good books at both meetings,” said Sam. “At Washdyke with my commitment to Kevin Hickman’s horses I’ll be on Zentessa, Tatum and Pendleton, and my other rides include Astrid for Te Akau.
“It would be hard case if I was to win on her. I can’t remember the last time I rode for Te Akau, but that’s where it all started for me in my apprentice days.”
If win 500 doesn’t happen tomorrow, Collett will find ready consolation should the breakthrough take place a day later on her home track. Her book there is headed by the Hickman-owned Tessastock in the Team Wealleans Matamata Cup, along with another in the yellow and blue colours, last-start winner Joe Cargo.
But of all the rides she has over the next two days, no win would please her more than for her father Jim on race seven runner Sarabande.
“A home track win for Dad on Saturday – that would be pretty cool,” she said.