‘I always wanted to come back. I love Singapore’: Alysha Collett



Nine months after her horror fall, Alysha Collett is back in town and can’t wait to pick up where she left off.


When asked why she returned to a place that left her bedridden with a bruised back for several weeks, not to mention going under the knife twice, the plucky New Zealand lass said without batting an eyelid:


“I really liked Singapore. Some jockeys don’t, but I do, and that’s why I’m back,” said Collett.

“When I was lying in my hospital bed, I was only focused about getting better, but coming back to Singapore was always at the back of my mind.”

Nine months after her horror fall, Alysha Collett is back in town and can’t wait to pick up where she left off.


When asked why she returned to a place that left her bedridden with a bruised back for several weeks, not to mention going under the knife twice, the plucky New Zealand lass said without batting an eyelid:


“I really liked Singapore. Some jockeys don’t, but I do, and that’s why I’m back,” said Collett.

“When I was lying in my hospital bed, I was only focused about getting better, but coming back to Singapore was always at the back of my mind.”


Things were then going swimmingly for Collett. She was just about to compete her six-month licence, the holder of a decent record of 11 winners in 181 rides, when she hurt her L1 vertebra and her right heel in a race fall on October 14.


She was riding Drone for Michael Clements in a 1000m race, when her mount blundered one furlong out while running into restricted room between Thunderstruck (Vlad Duric) and Racer King (Daniel Moor), sending the rider crashing to the turf. Both Duric and Moor were later suspended for careless riding in the aftermath of the incident.


Taking a tumble from a racehorse comes with the territory for the daughter of New Zealand trainers Richard and Judy who has been riding since she was a little girl.

Collett did see the appeal of another career (still in racing) during her recovery, though – not because the injury took its toll on her.


She took another job while recuperating and she took it like a duck to water – Racing media.

“After my fall, I went home shortly after. There was nothing else I could do,” she said.

“During that time, I worked in the racing media as a TV presenter (Trackside programme). I worked three times a week, did previews, live raceday presentations and post-race reviews.

“I really enjoyed it, and for a while, I thought that could be an interesting career choice if I didn’t return to race-riding. But once I had my second surgery (first one occurred in Singapore after the fall) in April to have the rods from my back removed, I regained my fitness, and I just wanted to get back to riding.


“The rods and screws were inserted to stabilise the fractured vertebra, but they restricted my movement. I could move a lot better after my surgery.

“Then I did my rehab and started riding trackwork for various trainers in June. After I got the clearance from my doctor, I had my first race rides soon after.

“In 40 rides, I rode four winners, including a double (July 24) before I left, which could not have been a better send-off.


“The TV work was great and that’s a string in my bow which I can use one day when I stop riding, but for now, I just want to get back to race-riding and Singapore is where I want to be right now.”


Collett said she had kept an eye on the Kranji racing scene since she left, and that she was not totally out of touch when she landed back on Sunday. Obviously, some things have changed, but one factor remained a constant – the weather!


“I was so happy to have my first rides back yesterday. I only got my permit on Wednesday,” said Collett who has racked up close to 380 winners with the Group 1 Zabeel Classic aboard Consensus in 2016 the career highlight from a honour roll that includes four Group 2, 14 Group 3 and Listed race wins (none won in Singapore yet).

“It felt great to ride around the track again, but that heat on the Polytrack wasn’t as great!

“There are a few new faces among the jockeys as well, so it’ll be interesting. We’ll see what happens.”


Collett does not have any rides on Friday but takes four rides on Sunday – two for Leslie Khoo, Beauty Luck (Race 2) and Alwrich (Race 4) and two for Mark Walker, Atlantic Fox (Race 3) and Hidden Promise (Race 7).


The lightweight jockey was eligible to ride on Friday, but she said she somehow could not get any booking. To be fair, there are only seven races scheduled for that night, a record low for a very long time at Kranji, which normally features on average meetings of eight races on Friday and nine or 10 on Sunday.

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