Expat New Zealand Jockey Alysha Collett is happy to be back in the saddle and will ride on Sunday at Queanbeyan in New South Wales. Collett had been in Singapore, where she is licensed to ride until the end of the year, when racing was shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
She joined fellow riders Michael Rodd, Patrick Moloney and Daniel Moor in making a move to Australia. “When we went into isolation (in Singapore) for the month the numbers weren’t that high daily but it came to two weeks of isolation and they were getting about a 1,000 cases daily,” Collett said. “So they decided to put another month on the isolation, maybe two. It was hard for us jockeys to be sitting in a condo not doing anything.”
Collett completed the mandatory two weeks isolation on arrival in Sydney and had a negative COVID-19 test before returning to riding work on Wednesday. “We are really unsure of when racing will start over there again so it is great that some of us jockeys could jump on a plane, do the two weeks isolation and commence riding in another country,” Collett said. “It is all unknown but the licence has been put on hold, with the other jockeys as well, so it has left the door open for us so we can go back if we want to.”
Collett, who rode in Sydney as an apprentice, had always planned to return to Australia once she finished riding in Singapore. “I haven’t ridden in New Zealand in the past two years and after riding in Singapore I had always wanted to come to Sydney to ride,” she said. “This has just fast forwarded the motion of that which could be ideal in ways. “You are always putting new challenges on yourself to improve as a jockey and I thought that coming here could be better for my future.”
Collett is booked to ride the Clare Cunningham-trained Aradhana in the Jerra Hotel Maiden Plate (1000m) and stablemate Fight The Knead in the Dolly Teer Memorial Captain’s Flat Cup Plate (1600m). Warwick Farm trainer Cunningham is the partner of Collett’s brother Jason, who has established himself as a top-10 rider in Sydney since moving across the Tasman at the end of 2012.