2018 Finalists

Strapper of the Year

2018 Finalists

The finalists for the 2017-18 Sydney Strapper of the Year award have been announced. Now in its ninth 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, 16 August 2017.

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:-

Aaron Parker (Kerry Parker stable)

Horses strapped this season: Dark Dream, Heavenly Anna, Red Dream, Vergillio, Heartlings.

Aaron has really matured as a stable hand in the last couple of years. It is clear that he has a love and passion for the horses, and the racing industry as a whole, and that they come first. He no longer sees this as a job, but as a way of life.

He stays back whenever the farrier or vet is coming as he always wants to help out and learn as much as he can about his horses that he works with. Aaron has also towed horses and represented the stables on occasions when I can’t attend.

His biggest contribution to the stables was during the 8-week Brisbane campaign of Dark Dream. He had to build the horse back up when it lost weight during travel as well as deal with the horse pulling up lame after its Grand Prix due to losing a shoe during the run. He then had to care for the horse and get in fit again for its Darby run, all on his own, whilst having the added pressure of communicating with the owners and of course the trainer back home. During this time he really matured and went well above and beyond the duties of a strapper. Aaron is highly respected both within and without the stable.

Amy Halliday (Jason Attard stable)

Horses strapped this season: Reiby The Red, Reiby Rampart, Sons Of John.

Amy’s horsemanship skills are commendable dealing with the full gamut from foals through to racehorses. She is also very capable of floating horses to the races, strapping and saddling on her own being both professional and presentable whilst being there.

As part of her role, Amy also feeds and looks after several mares that belong to the stud which is part of the stables where she works. During foaling season Amy volunteers to have the foaling down alarm in her house so that she can be there for the birth of the foals, usually this happens around midnight and Amy is still first to work the next morning.

Amy isn’t a boss like figure towards our other employees but more like a fellow worker and friend. She is always smiling and happy to be around everyone.

Lindy Wharekura (Snowden stable)

Horses strapped this season: Moss Trip, That’s a Good Idea, Ewase.

Lindy has been an integral part of our stable, with excellent horse skills and people skills. She adores working and nurturing difficult horses. She calms them and has great patience with them.

Lindy has an affinity with horses and treats her horses as her own babies. If one spikes a temperature then she checks her horse throughout the night making sure all is ok.

Lindy has a diploma in management but prefers to work in the stable. She is a great asset to our business and we are very proud of her. She is a very soft, giving, young lady who always cares for others.

Luke Hamilton (John O’Shea stable)

Horses strapped this season: Peribsen, Red Zephyr, Kapernick, Bachelor, Langley, Regine.

Luke is an integral part of the running of the stable. He always starts at least an hour before the rest of the staff arrive. He will happily stay after hours if one of his horses is being shod or is being treated by a vet.

His relaxed nature around the animals means that he is extremely good with colts and that is why he was entrusted to look after European import Peribsen.

Most importantly, his bubbly infectious personality is the fabric which enhances a positive work environment. Whenever I am running late, he is the first to call out “hey Magic Hands, are you on the afternoon shift?” when I walk in the gate.

Mark Whiteman (David Payne stable)

Horses strapped this season: Ace High, Touloose, All Too Soon, Heavenly Thunder, Momentum, Factor.

Mark lives and breathes racing and racehorses. Whether it’s Orange on a Monday to Nowra on Sunday, he’s always there on time with a smile on his face and conducts himself by the upmost professionalism. He is an asset to the stable and would be irreplaceable.

He is always the first one at the stables and makes sure all the horses are walked before they are exercised. He is an integral part of the operation and informs me of the fitness and condition of the horses he rides.

He’s great with horses, they relax so well for him and a great teacher to the newbies of the industry. Mark deserves this award because he’s someone everyone aspires to be and that’s what this award is about.

Nathan Davis (Matthew Smith stable)

Horses strapped this season: Plymouth Road, Kings of Leon, Faraway Town, Palazzo Publico, Aqua D’ivina.

Nathan is an exemplary team member with unwavering commitment to his position of senior stablehand. He has a high level of responsibility being also a senior travelling stablehand, who is highly regarded and has a wonderful rapport with our clientele.

Nathan is also in charge of all feeds for the entire stables. Nathan has a no-fuss, can-do attitude where nothing is a problem. His willingness to tackle any task is admirable and respected.

Not only is Nathan a valued and trusted employee, he is a also a great friend to Matthew and Melissa.

Sam Phillips (Gerald Ryan stable)

Horses strapped this season: Trapeze Artist, Albumin, Magic Alibi, Condor Heroes.

Sam is a pleasure to have as an employee – reliable to a fault, bubbly, happy, dedicated beyond all measure and cares 150% about his horses.

Sam is always asking questions and has a great thirst for knowledge. Hence, we have no hesitation is entrusting him with our most prized horses.

He works well with our staff and will go a long way in racing.

Timothy Benn (James Cummings stable)

Horses strapped this season: Alizee, Astoria, Jorda.

Tim is a hardworking, dedicated, and valuable member of the Godolphin team who has been with us for over 4 years. He always presents his horses to the races in impeccable order including our multiple Group 1 winner Alizee – with whom he has a special affinity.

Tim is also responsible for handling the difficult horses within the stable. His work ethic is second to none and he is a respected and well-liked member of the Osborne Park crew. He helps out wherever he can and was recently rewarded for his commitment and passion when promoted to Assistant Foreman of the stable.

He is a responsible member of team and an excellent horseman. His passion for racing overflows into his personal life as he is now breeding future champions of his own. As a reward for his outstanding horsemanship, he was offered the opportunity to travel to Kildangan Farm in Ireland for the Northern Hemisphere breeding season.

Congratulations to all the finalists!


2017Riharna THOMSONDryden / Collings
2016Iftikhar ALIChris Waller
2016Vicki SZECSODIBjorn Baker
2014George TUCKERChris Waller
2013Glenn BARNESChris Waller
2012Skye SMALLEYGuy Walter
2011Michael DOOLANPeter Snowden
2010Melissa WILLIAMSJohn O’Shea