Samantha Collett is back with her feet on New Zealand soil, keen to further the experiences she has had riding abroad.
Collett, who flew back home on Thursday night, will be straight back into action with seven rides at Ruakaka on Saturday, having ridden out of Queensland since the beginning of June.
One of the main attractions of riding in Queensland was continuing her association with the Robbie Patterson-trained Coventina Bay and though she wasn’t able to replicate her best New Zealand form, Collett saw upside in her performances.
“Things didn’t go Robbie’s mare’s way but we learnt a lot on the trip,” Collett said.
“For me personally, I was really happy. It was a really good experience and the money is so much better than home. I haven’t had an opportunity to have a decent stint overseas before and it is something that I’m interested in pursuing later on.
“I’ve made some good contacts in Queensland and Barry Baldwin was really good to me. I got to ride different horses for different trainers at different tracks. It was good to get another feather in my cap. But it was time to come back and get back in the groove for the new season.”
Collett has set herself some lofty goals for the new season. Her 85 wins this season, which has her second to Danielle Johnson on the national jockeys’ premiership, has moved her closer to her goal of 1000 New Zealand winners, a target which she believes she could hit next season.
“I really want to get 1000 winners but whether that’s next season or not, I’ll just see how it pans out. I’m on 872 so I’d need 130 wins next season,” she said.
“My first aim is to ride 100 wins next season. I fell a bit short this season by going over to Australia, but for next season I just really want to make the most of the opportunities I get.”
Collett was delighted to get such a competitive book of rides for Ruakaka, crediting her agent Stuart Laing for doing an excellent job.
“It was great to get that support. Stu’s done a good job getting me those rides,” she said.
Collett rated the Kenny Rae and Krystal Williams-Tuhoro-trained pair of Irish Girl and Dream Queen as the pick of her rides.
“I’ve ridden them both before and they should both go well and Laurant looks another winning chance,” she said.
“I’m just looking forward to getting back into the swing of things.”