2015 Finalists

Strapper of the Year

2015 Finalists

The six finalists for the award are:

Danielle Akon  (Bart & James Cummings stable)

Danielle is always at work on time, she does extra work at the vet clinic, and looks after her horses really well.  She is always happy to take any horses to the races wherever they go. She even comes in most Sundays to help out with the horses. Danielle has a lot of patience with difficult horses and is happy to handle any type of horse.

Oscar Fernandez  (John Sargent stable)

Oscar has a very senior role at the stables and carries quite a lot of responsibility in his day to day role. His work ethic is second to none and does the manual labour of two people. He is generally the first to arrive at the stables in the morning and the last to leave making sure that every horse under his care has been looked after to the best of his ability and then makes sure nothing has been missed with the other horses in the stable.
You wouldn’t find a more honest and caring person to be a part of a team and this certainly not only rubs off on the horses but also the other workers at the stable. His reliability is unquestionable and noone can remember the last time he missed a day of work. Oscar is always well presented and takes a lot of pride in himself as well as his work. His horse handling skills are terrific not to mention his people skills. He is the sort of person that nothing is ever too big a task or too small a one. It’s a good thing he has broad shoulders as some days he carries a lot of weight on them.

Alex Pappas  (Gerald Ryan stable)

Alex Pappas has worked at the Gerald Ryan stable for 6 years.  His passion and love for the thoroughbred, his reliability and promptness make him an ideal employee.  He is well-presented, well-spoken, and extremely courteous. Alex is fantastic at handling any type of horse and very well skilled in so many aspects of the racing industry. He is a great asset to the team and is well liked by all his fellow staff, the owners, and other industry participants.

Brendan Potts (Joe Pride stable)

Brendan has a work ethic which is second to none.  He treats every horse as if it were his own.  He can be counted on to be wherever he is needed to saddle up.  Brendan adds to the positive environment of the stable, he works in harmony with others and shows genuine pride in his work. Brendan is constantly thinking of new ways to improve the stable’s systems.

Vicki Szecsodi  (Bjorn Baker stable)

Vicki Szecsodi commenced her employment at Bjorn Baker Racing in April of 2014 and joined the stable as an accomplished horsewoman and experienced stablehand. Vicki has an all-encompassing role and her responsibilities exceed the normal requirements of a strapper/stablehand.
During her employment at Bjorn Baker Racing, Vicki has shown that she is passionate about equine welfare and for this reason she oversees the routine medical treatment of the horses on a daily basis. Her years of racing experience mean that Vicki can be entrusted with the responsibility of accompanying the horses to country and provincial race meetings and she is willing and able to act as stable representative when Bjorn is unable to attend the races. Vicki has also voluntarily assumed the role of mentoring the junior staff at the stable and is willing to share her experience and knowledge with her colleagues. Vicki is a dedicated and diligent employee.

Talwinder Singh  (Chris Waller stable)

Talwinder is not known as Talwinder. In the Chris Waller stable he goes by the name of Del. This name was given to him because he started on the same day as five other people and in the confusion caused by the sudden increase in staff population he was given a name that had only one letter in common with his real one. It is a testament to Del, however, that his new name was the least of his worries. He was here to work and to succeed and it didn’t matter if it was as Talwinder Singh or Del Boy Trotter. And as if to prove it, seven years later, he is the only member of that group, that all started on the same day back in 2008, to still be here.
He has gone from strength to strength in the Chris Waller team at Rosehill, starting out as a ‘box-boy’ he quickly moving on to strapper. And not just any strapper. He strapped one of this stables most memorable horses, the ill-fated Rangirando. Fast forward a few years and he has now been entrusted with one of this stables most precious horses: the Doncaster winner, Kermadec.
It is worth mentioning at this point that Del had not touched a horse before he started work at the stables. He was brought up on a farm in Punjab so a natural touch with animals was a given but it’s a long way from the North of India to the hustle a bustle of a hundred-strong racing stable in Australia’s busiest city. With careful tuition and a keen interest, not to mention bloody hard work he is now one of the most capable horsemen in this stable.
But it takes more than that to get to where he’s going. He was recently given the job of barn foreman – a position that not only requires horsemanship but also the ability to get on with people. It requires organisation and precision and a touch of class in knowing how to present and conduct yourself.
Talwinder Singh aka Del is a top class employee, a fantastic strapper and a brilliant team player. 

Congratulations to all the finalists!


2014George TUCKERChris Waller
2013Glenn BARNESChris Waller
2012Skye SMALLEYGuy Walter
2011Michael DOOLANPeter Snowden
2010Melissa WILLIAMSJohn O’Shea