Robert Hannam's successful riding career has been founded on a mix of self-belief and determination.
He had to overcome the slowest of starts to become an established senior jockey and his hard work was rewarded on Saturday when he finally posted his 1000th New Zealand winner aboard Artaxerxes at Trentham.
One of the most popular members of the jockeys' room, Hannam had got to within one of his milestone victory aboard Classic Touch at Hastings a month ago.
"I've had 30 odd rides since then so I'm so happy to have got there," he said. "To be able to get 1000 is unbelievable. I just wish I could bottle it - I'm proof that dreams do come true!
"Even though I only rode six winners during my four years as an apprentice I was never going to give up. Most people would have, but I love riding and I'm still so passionate about it."
Hannam, who served his apprenticeship at Otaki with Anton Koolman and Steven Dennett, has five Group One successes to his credit – Greene Street (Avondale Cup, International Stakes), Iamishwara (Otaki WFA Classic), Distill (Levin Classic) and Aide Memoire (Captain Cook Stakes).
They are obvious highlights, but they are so few and far between," he said.
"It's often the little things that are special – like working with a trainer who has set a horse for a win, no matter how small the race is and it comes off.
"I'm very, very grateful for all the support I've had from everybody all over the country, all the trainers and owners.
"I'd like to give a special shout out to Lisa Latta though, I've ridden more than 100 hundred winners for her so that's a 10th of my total."
Hannam, who also rode with success in India during the early 1990s, said he has no plans to retire just yet.
"I'm loving it, my weight's good and I'm still getting more than 600 rides a season. I'll do at least another couple of years yet."