2019 Finalists

Strapper of the Year

2019 Finalists

Sydney Strapper of the Year 2018-2019

The finalists for the 2018-19 Sydney Strapper of the Year award have been announced. Now in its tenth 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, 15 August 2019.

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 the short-list of nine finalists listed below (along with comments from their stable).

Alexandra Maher (John O’Shea stable)

Horses strapped in Sydney this season: Live And Free, Pretty In Pink, Intrepidecious.

There isn’t anyone more suited to an award which recognises dedication and hard work in our industry than Alex Maher. There are many words to describe Alex’s work ethic and care for not only our horses, but our staff. Alex is held in high regard by her peers and senior staff at John O’Shea Racing. She goes above and beyond her duties to ensure the stable runs smoothly and efficiently and the horses are well cared for, this means starting before anyone else in the stable at 3:30am and being the last to leave after every shift, leaving no task incomplete. She’s an esteemed horsewoman who I trust to manage when taking horses interstate to race. She is an integral part of the team and is the first point of contact to coordinate our vets, physios, truck drivers, feed deliveries etc as well as run the barrier trials, drive our own truck on race day as well as saddling up duties and staff rostering. Alex is the foundation of the stable and a real favourite with our staff. She’s a very approachable, kind and caring person and an excellent teacher to new staff in the stable.

Courtney Melton (Richard & Michael Freedman stable)

Horses strapped in Sydney this season: Pumpkin Pie, Latin Boy, Roman Son, Unguarded, The Bandit.

Courtney is a professional, reliable, and gentle horsewoman. She 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 members in her barn, and never makes them feel unwanted or small. She is consistent and patient. Courtney’s horse skills are excellent. She is 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 the example of the people we want more of in the Australian racing industry.

David Bradbury (Matthew Vella stable)

Horses strapped in Sydney this season: Pure Elation, Bella Vella, Follow On, Pacific Legend.

David Bradbury is an exceptional horseman, having spent over 30 years working in the racing industry. He has been employed with Glenn Haven Racing going on 2 years now and has shown the utmost dedication to the company and his work. David is a fantastic worker who sets a great example to our 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. Glenn Haven Racing is lucky to have found Dave to be a part of our team and represent our stable. He is iconically a hard working Aussie!!

David Broughton (Gwenda Markwell stable)

Horses strapped in Sydney this season: Angel Of Truth.

In an industry where workers 1/3 of his age struggle with early morning starts, 67 year old David Broughton has not missed a day of work due to illness in the 15 years he has worked for me.

He arrived from Perth 15 years ago to ride trackwork and has never left. He rode until the age of 60 and has since continued to work as a stablehand/strapper 6 days a week starting at 4am (3:30am on race days). He lives on site and is always available out of hours to assist with horse movements and showing owners their horses.

In addition to strapping whenever required, he has strapped many of my best horses including Grand Zulu (Villiers), Pearl of Bells and this year Angel of Truth (2019 Tulloch Stakes and Australian Derby winner).

David is a loyal, hardworking member of my team with an outstanding work ethic.

In addition to his vast knowledge of the racing industry, David is always available to talk on his favourite subjects – alternate medicine/vitamins, UFOs, the end of the world and conspiracy theories. (He has only ever sent 1 or 2 people into therapy)

He is a worthy nomination for Strapper of the Year and his 20 plus years in the racing industry makes him the perfect winner.

Kiah Robinson-Tripp (Kim Waugh stable

Horses strapped in Sydney this season: Our Century, Oxford Tycoon, Spring Charlie, Fuchu, Newsfan, Oxford Poet, Manhattan Mist.

Kiah has worked for my stable for 7 years and in that time she has made her way up from a stablehand to a foreperson. Kiah is extremely passionate about her job working with the horses and is very loyal and a real team player. She loves and treats my horses like they are her own which you cannot put a price on. Being a trainer for many years, when you find someone so loyal and hard working they are worth their weight in gold.

Kiah is also very patient and has a lovely calm disposition around the horses. Being a foreperson, she is also an excellent communicator and gives very good feedback.

I can’t speak highly enough of her work ethic and can honestly say she is a star!

Kyle Ryan (James Cummings stable)

Horses strapped in Sydney this season: Tassort, Microphone, Kordia, Lanigera.

Kyle (aka “Stretch”) is a hardworking, dedicated and valuable member of our team who has been with us for over 5 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. There are many incidents, but one recent example was when one of his two year olds was not 100% and, although we had staff to care and walk the horse, Kyle came in on his afternoon off to make sure the horse was ok.

Kyle never hesitates when asked for assistance from his workmates and willingly helps/shares his knowledge and experience. He loves his racing and his horses is very conscientious in the workplace. He is punctual, his work ethic is outstanding and he helps out wherever he can.

His commitment, passion, and expertise make him a valuable asset to our team and has resulted in his recent promotion to Assistant Foreman of the stable.

Marisa Ingelmo (Les Bridge stable)

Horses strapped in Sydney this season: Classique Legend, Secret Legend, Seasons, Zonk, Slow Burn, Balmain Boy.

Having had the pleasure of watching Marisa dedicate herself to Racing over the past 30 years, she has proven herself to be a friend and respected by all who have come to know her.

Marisa takes great care and pride in everything she does that involves horses. The safety and well-being of horses and her colleagues is her number-one priority.

Marisa’s instincts and natural affinity with horses is outstanding, she knows at a glance if a horse is out-of-sorts, her interest in the well-being of horses is not just restricted to the horses in her care but extends to every horse within her sights, whether it be in our stable, horses around the race track or at a race meeting.

Marisa, is highly skilled in handling horses, especially those that possess high spirits and strong wills, her most outstanding attribute is she’s always on alert and wouldn’t think twice about assisting a lesser skilled colleague in a dangerous situation.

Marisa is exceptionally generous in sharing her knowledge and her willingness to encourage those around her to improve their own skills is always done with kindness and respect.

Every horse that Marisa has cared for in her 30 years’ service to racing, is firmly etched into her soul, she can recall minute details of their personalities, their vet problems and their performances – racing is just not a job for Marisa, racing is her life’s dedication.

Melissa Kennedy (Scott Collings stable)

Horses strapped in Sydney this season: Bombdiggity, Handle The Truth, Confidential, Star Aspiration.

Melissa lives for horses. She has been in the racing industry for many years, having worked for astute stables in SE country NSW.

For Melissa it is not about the best horse in the stable it’s about each and every horse. She gives the highest care and attention to them all, whether they are yearlings coming in for education or seasoned horses up and racing. She travels state wide to strap our team of horses and when she does, our horses are presented in immaculate condition.

No matter whether it is being the first person to turn up at work or staying back later to aid the farrier, Melissa can always be relied upon to be there.

As many will agree, you can always hear Melissa laughing in the mornings, sharing hilarious banter with staff from other stables, joking with others through the fence, keeping the work place a happy place.

Melissa’s dedication doesn’t just stem to the horses, she loves our stable cat as much as she loves her own cats. Without fail he is fed and cuddled as much as possible, whether that is milk, cake or even biscuits. But what sets Melissa aside is her caring nature. She often will go to our property after work and feed up our sausage dogs and other animals whilst we are at the races and wont be home until late at night.

Melissa loves every aspect of the thoroughbred, even homing four retired racehorses herself. 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.

Nicky Matura (Team Hawkes stable)

Horses strapped in Sydney this season: Brutal, Mahalangur, First Hand, Desert Lord, Renewal, Kapajack.

Nicky is a very valuable team member and a great asset to our stable. He is early for every shift and is always available when needed to work later or extra hours. He is an experienced and capable horseman who can competently 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. No job is too much for Nicky and he always has a positive attitude along with a smile on his face. Nicky always puts the horses first.

Congratulations to all the finalists!


2018Lindy WHAREKURAPeter & Paul Snowden
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