Strapper of the Year
The finalists for the 2015-16 Sydney Strapper of the Year award have been announced. Now in its seventh 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, will be presented at NSW Racing’s Night of Champions at Royal Randwick on Thursday, 18 August 2016.
The award is peer-nominated with strappers that have worked at metropolitan race meetings being invited to nominate who they think is deserving of the award.
A selection panel of Racing NSW officials choose the winner from a short-list of eight finalists and they are:-
Marc Chevalier (Gary Moore stable)
Marc is an exceptional young man who has been with my stable since I returned to train in Australia. He came with great qualifications having worked for the Aga Khan in Chantilly, France and Arrowfield Racing in Australia. His work ethic is of a very high standard and a good example to my other staff members. Marc has an easy going character and is a pleasure to work with – always on time and willing to do any jobs around the stable. He is always well presented and his horse handling skills are very professional. I recommend Marc highly for this great honour.
Katrina Eveleigh (Greg Bennett stable)
Katrina Eveleigh is a long standing, loyal employee who has exceptional horse skills. She was a very accomplished amateur rider before becoming my number one track rider. She also has a wonderful knowledge of racing and has very good people skills, which is essential when I am not in attendance. She has a great work ethic and always puts the horse first. She can manage the stable and attend race meetings in my absence. She always presents herself well and is a wonderful advertisement for the stable.
Kevin Harding (Bjorn Baker stable)
Kevin although relatively new to the stable has quickly proved himself an invaluable member to the team, he is always well presented, reliable and his horse handling skills are second to none. Kevin has become one of the senior members of staff who we have full confidence in sending to the races to saddle up and represent the stable.
Kevin has always looked after the more difficult horses with ease and confidence, he takes pride in the presentation of his horses at the races and always puts their needs first. Kevin is always the first person to arrive in the morning and leads by example and is willing to do any job asked of him.
Ali Iftikhar (Christ Waller stable)
Ali is a pleasure to work with, he is always at work on time and one of the first to volunteer to stay back if anything extra needs to be done. Ali does everything with a smile on his face and is a bit of a character around the stables. His horse handling skills are exceptional and he can be given any horse in the stable to strap with confidence.
Iftikhar Ali, is from Pakistan and moved to Australia almost 10 years ago. Ali, as he is more commonly known around the stable, was a professional jockey in his home country, where he rode 25 winners before moving to Australia in an endeavour to gain further experience in the horseracing industry. He also made the move (with very little understanding of the English language) with a hope to earn a more substantial income to support his family, who remained in Pakistan.
Ali spent the first 6 years working for David Payne before starting with Chris Waller Racing almost 4 years ago. Ali is one of Chris’ most senior track work riders. He is very good with the older horses who exhibit some quirks and may prove difficult for others to ride. Ali is reliable, always on time, hardworking and overall is a huge asset to our stable team. He also straps at the races; most notably Press Statement and You’ll Never.
Since being in Australia, Ali lost his wife in 2007 and has since lost his father and one of his sisters. His four young children, aged between 9 and 13, still live in Pakistan and are being brought up by one of Ali’s sisters while he supports them financially from Australia. Ali sends the majority of his wage home to Pakistan where he is employing his extended family to build a house for his children. This gives each of his family members job security and a source of income. He has also funded a school bus to ensure that the local children can get to school each day. Unfortunately, he rarely gets the opportunity to travel home to Pakistan and he was last home in January, for the first time in some years.
Ali is a key member of staff at Chris Waller Racing and we feel very privileged to have him as part of our team. His work ethic in both his professional and personal life is something to be greatly admired.
Scott Potts (Joe Pride stable)
Scott is a hardworking individual who is very dedicated to the industry. He loves all of horses and never misses a race day. During the carnival he travels with the majority of our interstate runners and very rarely returns without a winner. Not only does he strap, he rides out in the mornings and looks after any of our tricky horses when riding the stable pony. He is more than happy to help any of our staff and more often than not looks after any new employees to the industry. Scott goes above and beyond and we would love to see him recognised.
Debbie Rieper (Matthew Dale stable)
Debbie has shown exceptional attention to detail over the 4 years she has worked for the stable. She is an extremely good horsewoman and her dedication to both our stable and the industry is second to none.
Debbie is always happy to put in the extra long hours required to strap our horses in Sydney. This can often be a 15 odd hour day.
She has been a dedicated worker in the thoroughbred racing industry for 26 years and remains as passionate as ever.
Congratulations to all the finalists!
Laura Stritch (Gai Waterhouse stable)
Laura has been one of the hardest working and most dedicated of Gai’s staff and her work ethic has been rewarded by being promoted to Junior Foreman and is in charge of her own yard (sugar Rush barn). She is directly responsible for 10 horses in her care and 2 staff. Laura is always the first to arrive and last to leave and her dedication to her horses means she usually spends her afternoons and weekends off attending to her horses. She has exceptional horse handling skills and is often given the ‘quirkier’ horses to look after, such as Ecuador. Laura is known to spend her own money on buying special things for her favourite horses such as rugs, boots, shampoos and carrots, of course. Laura and her horses and always turned out in immaculate condition which is a credit to herself and testament to her dedication.
David Wilson (Anthony Cummings stable)
David Wilson has been a longstanding, loyal employee. He has been reliable, trustworthy and a real asset to our stables. He has immense knowledge of horses and their needs. Dave also helps educate new staff members and is always willing to help, patient with their questions.
Our owners feel very comfortable with Dave, especially when he represents the stables as the foreman at Provincials. He would be a worth recipient of the award.
Congratulations to all the finalists!