2020 Finalists

Strapper of the Year

2020 Finalists

Sydney Strapper of the Year 2019-2020

The finalists for the 2019-20 Sydney Strapper of the Year award have been announced. Now in its eleventh 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 is sponsored by Racing NSW and co-ordinated by Australian Racing Christian Chaplaincy.

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).

Brock Walker (Mark Newnham stable)

Horses strapped in Sydney this season: Quackerjack, Splintex, Sixgun.

Brock has been working for Mark Newnham Racing since September 2019 and has strapped 11 winners for the stable including group winners. Brock is a country boy from Orange and made the move to the city for experience. He is hard working, never complains and loves going to the races to strap. Brock has a passion for the horses he looks after and for racing. It is always great to see Brock’s smiling face whilst strapping and he takes everything in his stride.

Brock is a very dedicated team member and takes great care and pride in his horses.

Christine Duffy (Ciaron Maher Racing – Sydney stable)

Horses strapped in Sydney this season: Away Game, Cellsabeel, Anders, Holyfield, All Too Royal, Junipal, Amish Boy, Dr Drill, Rathlin

Christine’s dedication to every horse that enters the yard makes her an asset to the Ciaron Maher Racing team. Her natural affinity with horses and outstanding horsemanship skills are essential when dealing with 1st-time yearlings, who are just learning what racing is all about, through to experienced, group winning horses.

She has a genuine love and passion for the horses, the people she works with, and the racing industry. Her enthusiasm and can-do attitude is infectious and helps to maintain our positive work environment.

She contributed to many of this season’s stable winners, including Rathlin, Cellsabeel, Anders, Holyfield, Dr. Drill, All Too Royal, and Etah James. However, she has a special affinity with Away Game, who she dedicated over eight weeks to during the Brisbane carnival.

Graeme Wilson (Kris Lees stable)

Horses strapped in Sydney this season: Agent Pippa,Chalmers, Iconic Star, Top Prospect, Korcho, Great Danger.

Graeme is an influential part of the Lees racing operation. His horse handling skills are of high level. His experience and ability to work well under pressure is heavily utilised in the stable. His services include three to four Country / Provincial / Metropolitan race meetings a week, whereby he drives the raceday truck and does strapping duties on the day. He is a regular at Metropolitan Saturdays with the ability to handle even the most difficult of horses. He works long hours with 6 trackwork days a week and, when not required at races, Graeme assists with daily paddock runs, handling yearlings, assisting with barrier trials and even walking horses and boxes.

Graeme’s skills are an asset to Lees Racing and his pleasant character is well known in the racing industry. He is not often found without sporting the Less Racing hat and shirt, and performs his tasks with great pride.

Julie Walsh (Peter & Paul Snowden stable)

Horses attended in Sydney this season: Signore Fox, Colonel and Strike.

From the moment of her arrival in Australia four years ago, Julie has worked tirelessly in the stable. She is only small but she works like a machine. Julie’s stable duties are mucking out, brushing, feeding, walking, saddling- all aspects of caring for her horses, and riding them is her art form you might say.

When coming from Ireland she worked so hard to get her technique just perfect and now she is the best. When jump outs are on, some jockeys ask if Julie is in this one, and then you hear “oh no” because Julie will be the first one out of the barriers for sure.

Whether she is leading the horse, saddling to go to the track, picking the feet for a walk, or massaging the muscles after a hard run, she makes sure her horses are taken care of. Julie is first at work. She loves her horses and is devoted to her job.

The star for her was Redzel. She always saddled and rode and loved him so much. Now she looks after Signore Fox (who recently won the Grafton Ramornie), Colonel and Strike.

This award would be a wonderful recognition for Julie’s hard work in racing if she should win, but she is already a winner to all of us at Snowden Racing.

Kathryn Adams (Paul Cave stable)

Horses strapped in Sydney this season: Monsieur Sisu, Bowery Breeze, The Cartoonist, Nacho Libre, Spanish Dream.

Kath is very deserving of this award. She may be only pint sized but she has the strength of Goliath.

Kath has been involved with racing since she was 17. She handles some very difficult horses for us with such love and attention that you would think they are Labrador puppies, rather than fit, highly strung racehorses.

She handles and helps educate all the younger horses, introducing them to swimming and instilling a calm confidence in them. Her love and care towards the horses in our yard is evident at all times and her photo stream is full of selfies with her equine babies. All of our horses get to choose the radio station that Kath plays to them as long as it’s Triple M.

Kath can competently manage the stables when I’m not on site, so that I can get on with other tasks knowing that the horses, stables, staff are in capable hands.

She has a very strong work ethic, always keeping the yard looking tidy and efficiently organised so that it runs smoothly. She has a very good rapport with her fellow workers, always happy to help and educate new staff, making for a harmonious and efficient working environment. Staff are particularly appreciative of the lolly jar Kath always keeps full.

The horses are always immaculately turned out on race day, with neat manes and shiny coats manes but more importantly they are happy horses and consequently give their best on race day. We are proud of her representing our stables and consider her a valuable member of our team!

Nerissa Copp (Brad Widdup stable)

Horses strapped in Sydney this season: Akari, Showtime Lady, Liams the Boss, Juglized.

Nerissa moved to Australia after completing the British horse racing school induction. After moving to Australia she has worked for various trainers including the late Guy Walter and was head strapper for the Mike Moroney stables.

Since joining our stables just over two years ago, Nerissa has proven to be an invaluable asset not only as a rider but also on the ground and offering assistance with administration duties, taking photos and making videos (even the odd TikTok) whenever needed.

Nerissa days far exceed her required hours, at her own accord she will make sure all manes are pulled, gear is organised, race bags are packed and colours are sorted or spending time spoiling some of her special favourites.

Nerissa is shy by nature and was embarrassed when told of her nomination saying “I am sure there is more people worthy of it then me”. However, Nerissa’s work ethic is exceptional and our team environment is better for her being a part of it.

Ravinder Mangat (aka Rocky) (Chris Waller stable)

Horses strapped in Sydney this season: Subpoenaed, Veery Elleegant, Toryjoy, Lucicello.

Rocky, as he is affectionately known by everyone, is first and foremost a great man let alone a great strapper. He always has a smile on his face when coming to work and looks after a couple of stable stars. He loves going racing and looking after his horses.

Along with his trusty side kick Harmandeep Singh (Harry), he is the Gordon Ramsey of the Chris Waller operation where he makes up feed for all 148 horses at Rosehill as well as making feed to go away with Country Cups horses. He does a fantastic job and makes sure he provides our horses with a consistent feed day in and day out which is so important to the success of Chris Waller Racing. He also helps train up other staff to learn our feeding recipe to ensure that young staff continue to come up through the ranks.

He is a pleasure to work with and is also eager to help and learn more about horses and Australian racing. He is hugely popular with our staff which helps provide a good working environment for all the team at Rosehill.

Stephanie Alexander (Brett Cavanough stable)

Horses strapped in Sydney this season: The Monstar, Star Boy.

Stephanie Alexander has been an integral part of Cavanough Racing’s success for seven and a half years.

Stephanie’s horsemanship and leadership skills, attention to detail and work ethic collectively have contributed to three of the stables most noted success in NSW premiership titles and five SDRA premierships. We are humbled to work alongside such a dedicated foreman in Stephanie and we will continue to appreciate her dedicated commitment to our team.

Stephanie has travelled extensively with numerous horses, but most recently been a part of the success of The Monstar and Star boy.

Anyone who knows Stephanie would understand her ability and her role within our team and her level of diligence. She is a highly respected industry member and a very valuable part of our team. We are delighted to support Stephanie’s nomination, and we believe she is a well-suited candidate for this award.

Yuko Okada (John Thompson stable)

Horses strapped in Sydney this season: Sweet Deal, Le Lude, Fituese.

Yuko is a highly valued and loyal member of the John Thompson Racing team and has been for the past four years. A quiet achiever who eagerly undertakes her daily duties with a no fuss attitude, she is often the ‘first to arrive and the last to leave’ ensuring no task is left unanswered.

Yuko is extremely dedicated and continually displays a high level of attention to detail with every task undertaken. Let’s just say she certainly completes all duties way beyond expectations! As a forward thinker with a positive work ethic, Yuko continually motivates those around her, she is a natural leader and an integral part of our operation.

Yuko is here first and foremost for the horses, and her quiet nature is reflected in her horsemanship skills. She always puts the horses’ welfare first and her love and passion for the industry shines through on a daily basis.

A favourite amongst the staff, Yuko is highly regarded by her peers and is an excellent mentor to new staff joining our team.

We are thrilled to see Yuko shortlisted for the Sydney Strapper of the Year award – her quiet dedication is deserving of this recognition and we wish her luck!

Congratulations to all the finalists!


2019Alexandra MAHERJohn O’Shea
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