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Finalists Announced For Sydney’s Strapper Award


The final nominations for the 2018/19 Sydney Strapper of the Year award have been announced.

Now in its 10th year, this award endeavours to recognise the behind-the-scenes efforts by those strappers that tend to go beyond the call of duty.

The award, sponsored by Racing NSW and co-ordinated by Australian Racing Christian Chaplaincy, is presented in August.

The award is peer-nominated with strappers at Metropolitan race meetings being invited to nominate who they think is deserving of the award.

A selection panel of racing officials will subsequently choose the winner from the following short-list of finalists.

Alexandra Maher
John O’Shea stable – 2 years: Horses strapped-Live and Free, Pretty in Pink. “Alex is held in high regard by her peers and senior staff. She goes above and beyond her duties to ensure the stable runs smoothly and efficiently; this means starting before anyone else at 3:30am and being the last to leave after every shift. Alex is an integral part of the team and is first point of contact to coordinate vets, physios, truck drivers, feed deliveries, drive our own truck on raceday as well as saddling up duties and staff rostering. Alex is the foundation of the stable and a real favourite.”

Melissa Kennedy
Scott Collings – 5 years: Bombdiggity, Handle the Truth. “Melissa lives for horses and gives the highest care and attention to them all, whether they’re yearlings or seasoned horses. As many will agree, you can always hear Melissa laughing in the mornings keeping the work place a happy place. But what sets Melissa aside is her caring nature. Melissa loves every aspect of the thoroughbred, even homing four retired racehorses. She only six months ago took Atlantic Sentinel under her care and has competed with him in the show ring. She shows the same attention to detail with them as she does at work.”

Marisa Ingelmo
Les Bridge – 2 years: Classique Legend, Zonk. “Marisa has dedicated herself to racing over the past 30 years and is respected by all who have come to know her. Safety and well-being of horses and her colleagues is her number-one priority. Marisa is highly-skilled in handling horses, is always on alert and wouldn’t think twice about assisting a lesser skilled colleague in a dangerous situation. Every horse that Marisa has cared for is firmly etched into her soul – she can recall minute details of their personalities, their vet problems and their performances. Racing’s just not a job for Marisa, racing is her life’s dedication.”

Courtney Melton
Richard & Michael Freedman – 2 years: Pumpkin Pie, Latin Boy. “Courtney is a professional, reliable and gentle horsewoman who supervises a barn and takes responsibility for the horses and staff in that barn. We depend on her and she doesn't let us down. She educates new staff and never makes them feel unwanted or small. Courtney’s horse skills are excellent, and she’s gentle and kind to the horses, but firm when needed. Courtney is always well presented at the races and interacts with owners in polite and informative ways. Courtney is an example of the people we want more of in the racing industry.”

Nicky Matura
Team Hawkes – 3½ years: Brutal, Kapajack. “Nicky is a valuable team member and a great asset to our stable. He’s early for every shift and is always available when needed to work later or extra hours. He’s an experienced and capable horseman who can handle any horse in the yard and looks after his horse to a very high standard. He also conducts himself in a professional manner at all times. Nicky gets on well with all other staff members and is someone less-experienced staff can turn to for advice or assistance. Nicky always has a positive attitude and a smile on his face.”

David Broughton
Gwenda Markwell – 15 years:  Angel of Truth. “In an industry where workers a third of David’s age struggle with early morning starts, David (67) has not missed a day of work due to illness in the 15 years with us. He arrived from Perth 15 years ago to ride trackwork and has never left. He rode until the age of 60 and has since worked as a stablehand/strapper six days a week starting at 4am (3:30am racedays). David lives on site and is always available out of hours to assist. David is a loyal, hardworking member of my team with an outstanding work ethic.”

David Bradbury
Matthew Vella – 2 years: Pure Elation, Bella Vella. “David is an exceptional horseman, having spent 30 years working in the industry. He’s been employed with Glenn Haven Racing for two years and has shown the utmost dedication to the company and his work. David sets a great example to other staff, whether working in a team or solo environment, by being trustworthy, loyal and always ‘on the ball’. David is an asset to our stable and represents us with pride and respect. We’re lucky to have found Dave to be a part of our team and represent our stable. He’s the ultimate hardworking Aussie!”

Kiah Robinson-Tripp
Kim Waugh – 7 years: Our Century, Spring Charlie. “Kiah has made her way up from a stablehand to a foreperson. Kiah is extremely passionate about her job, is loyal and a real team player. She loves and treats our horses like they’re her own which you cannot put a price on. When you find someone so loyal and hardworking they’re worth their weight in gold. Kiah is also patient and has a lovely calm disposition around the horses. She is also an excellent communicator and gives great feedback. I can't speak highly enough of her work ethic and can honestly say she’s a star!”

Kyle Ryan
James Cummings – 5 years: Tassort, Microphone. “Kyle (aka ‘Stretch’) is a hardworking, dedicated and valuable member of our team who has been with us for over five years. He always presents his horses to the races in impeccable order and is excellent with the young horses, especially our colts. Kyle is a country boy with a very calming nature which is a great asset around flighty thoroughbreds. We expect our staff to be of a very high standard, but Kyle goes over and above for the horses he cares for. His commitment, passion, and expertise make him a valuable asset to our team.”


Year Winner Stable
2018 Lindy WHAREKURA Peter & Paul Snowden
2017 Riharna THOMSON Keith Dryden/Scott Collings
2016 Iftikhar ALI Chris Waller
2015 Vicki SZECSODI Bjorn Baker
2014 George TUCKER Chris Waller
2013 Glenn BARNES Chris Waller
2012 Skye SMALLEY Guy Walter
2011 Michael DOOLAN Peter Snowden
2010 Melissa WILLIAMS John O'Shea


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