A Talented Te Akau Trio

Date: 3 May 2020

A Talented Te Akau Trio

Lockdown saw an exodus from the barns and stables at the Matamata Training Centre and an influx of horses spelling on the lush pastures at Te Akau Stud.

While it was all hands on deck for the farm staff tending the horses, they also gained the services of three talented young team members from Matamata: Mette Mosebo, Sam Bergerson and Reece Trumper.

“These are three outstanding young people and it's been a pleasure to have them working up here on the farm,” said Te Akau principal David Ellis.

“Mette is a foreman at the colt barn in Matamata, and a young lady that has made tremendous progress since she joined us and she is a natural leader. The two young men, Reece and Sam, are fine examples of young New Zealanders and each comes from families with strong backgrounds working with horses. Reece's grandfather, John Trumper, is a trainer and with his wife Sue they own Cheveley Stud, at Te Aroha, and Sam's father is trainer Roydon Bergerson.

“Horses are the cornerstone of our business and we strive to attain the best we can for our owners, but I can't stress enough the importance of having the right people involved as well. It doesn't matter what business or industry you're in, the success is generally determined by how professional your staff are and at Te Akau we're fortunate to have some of the very best.

“We've got brilliant staff here at the farm, who all work hard, as do those at Matamata, and I think it's been a good experience for Mette, Reece and Sam to get an insight into what we do here. These are three top young people that have done an outstanding job here and each of them has a huge future in our industry.”

We asked each of them to comment on their time at Te Akau Stud. Note - the main photo was taken prior to lockdown/social distancing rules and no animals were hurt in the process - Colin the Corgi!

Mette Mosebo: “We've been here for a month and going to stay for a few more weeks to help out with the spellers.

“We start each day at 7 a.m., the whole crew, and we all get our temperatures checked. Sam, Reece, and I go around and feed-up and check on all the spellers and do that again later because they are fed twice a day. 

“Sometimes, I then go and help with the breakers (yearlings being broken-in) and ride Scrutinize (one of two lead ponies, including Gingernuts) with some of the yearlings around the farm. 

“Around the farm, Reece and Sam have spent time with the stock managers, dealing with cattle, vaccinating, helping Dave doing some spraying of thistles, and so on. Otherwise, the vet and farrier have been out and we help them with the horses and generally just help out where we can.

“I've also been Dave's gym buddy for the last five weeks. It's an amazing setup and he's pretty tough.

“Dave and Karyn have really looked after us like we're family. We are never short of anything in the staff house.

“We work in teams and stay in our same bubble and Karyn makes sure we follow all the protocols of sanitizing, wearing gloves when we're dealing with horses and equipment other people might also use, washing bikes etc.

“The spellers are all doing very well and Jamie (Richards) was out here on Tuesday (March 28). He had a look at all the horses and was very happy with what he saw. 

“It's been really good to see what they do out here compared to what we do at the stables, and that Karyn and Dave have taken us under their wing. It's been great to keep us going, because we could have been sitting at home not doing anything. We've always been in the loop and understanding what is going on during the lockdown period.

“It's been incredible to see how much work Dave and Karyn actually do each day to make sure owners and workers are kept happy. 

“I've had Colin with me (Colin the corgi) and he's been looked after really well out here, as well. Karyn has made sure he's had a goodtime in 'Doggy Day Care', spending afternoons with her three dogs. Colin is special to everyone out here, too.” 

Sam Bergerson: “Everyone has been great here and welcomed us. It's been great helping out with the breakers and finding out how they do things here at the stud. It's been really cool.

“We've all learnt so much working with Dave. He's about picking up on the little things that some people might take for granted. He's a stickler for doing everything right and especially the extra things that might not get done. He's a taskmaster for doing everything one-hundred percent. He works really hard and I think that makes everyone else want to work hard as well.

“Reece and I have done a lot around the farm and we are trying to make Te Akau thistle-free. Dave hates thistles and weeds. If you come out here after lockdown there shouldn't be a thistle or weed in sight. 

“It's been really good to get a better understanding of the Te Akau business. Seeing what happens after the yearlings are bought, with the breaking-in process. Where as previously, we only see what happens when they arrive at the stables. Coming out here to experience the full cycle has been great. 

Reece Trumper: “We've also been doing a lot of work fertilising and have learnt the importance of it. Dave has shown me what is good grass, and why, and what is bad grass, and he's taught me a lot about fertiliser. 

“It's just amazing how much grass has grown since we first arrived, until now. I love the land and finding out how best to look after it has been great.

“It's been good to experience the work that gets done behind the scenes, not just with the horses but also all the livestock and it's been great helping Dan and Luke with the cattle and seeing them working their dogs. 

“Dave's got about 2500 cattle on and over 4000 sheep, including about 3000 breeding ewes. He's got some nice beasts out here. And he's been very kind and given us lots of lamb racks, as well. We've been eating well, they're beautiful.”

We then asked each of them about their backgrounds with horses, education, and plans for the future.

Reece Trumper:“ I'm 18-years-old and left New Plymouth Boys' High School at the end of last year, but had worked holidays with trainers Gavin Sharrock, Chris Bothwell, and Te Akau, and done a lot with my grandparents at Cheveley Stud. They've supported me a lot and Mum & Dad let me spend plenty of time with them. They certainly made me fall in love with the animal and the reason why I don't want to leave the game. 

“I like the training side of horse husbandry the most. I've had a lot to do with my grandfather taking horses to the track and I enjoy watching them work and building up towards racing. My aunty, Louise McGregor, also trained at Te Aroha, and I spent quite a bit of time with her at the track.  It's a good feeling if you can train a horse to win and both her and my grandfather have trained some good winners. 

“My first main goal is to try and get accepted for the Sunline Scholarship which Jamie (Richards) and Sam (Bergerson) have been awarded previously. That would be fantastic and then I would like to work towards becoming an assistant trainer for a stable. The advice I've received about the scholarship is that I should do a yearling prep before applying, but in the meantime I love what I'm doing for Te Akau.

“I've never got to work with such well bred horses and it's good to work with horses of this quality. Their breeding shows out in what they are like to work with and the combination of pedigree and the athletes that they are just seems to set them apart from some others, if you know what I mean.

“I've learnt so much from working with Jamie, Mette, Scott Lucock, and Nicole Shalier, and all the staff work hard in making sure we're getting the best out of the horses and fulfil their potential. 

“I work at the Middle Barn, where Nicole is foreman and she has been a really big help to me. She has taught me a lot and done a lot for me. If I'm doing something right, or wrong, she always lets you know. She's a really nice lady and always looks out for me, as well. 

“I'd helped out Te Akau during the school holidays when they brought horses to race in New Plymouth. Got to know Jamie and Mette, and Danny Rolston, at New Zealand Bloodstock, strongly advised I try and work for Te Akau to take my knowledge to the next level. Jamie has told me that Danny taught him a lot about horses.

“I feel like I'm in the right place, really enjoying it and just want to keep learning everything I can.”

Sam Bergerson: “I grew up with horses, working weekends and school holidays. Dad is a trainer and his father, Herb Bergerson, trained as well at Hawera. 

Initially, out of high school, I was steered away from horses and went to university at Massey (Palmerston North), which is where I grew up, and got an Accounting degree. While I was studying I worked for an accounting firm, in a cadetship, but was not entirely sure after four years whether that was what I wanted to do.

“I travelled, went to Ireland to play a season of rugby, and then got a job at Aidan O'Brien's (Ballydoyle Stable) near Tipperary. That got me back into the horses and I absolutely loved my time there. I did about ten months before my visa expired and I came home.

Sam with Galileo

“From that experience, I wanted to continue working with horses and applied for the Sunline Scholarship when I was back working for Dad at Awapuni, and also at Wellfield Stud. I was awarded the scholarship in 2019 which took me to England, Ireland, and America. It was an amazing year, getting to see some of the best farms and best bloodlines in the world. Sam Bergerson 2019 scholarship

“After giving myself time to reflect on everything, I realised my preference for working in the racing side of the industry. Probably because of my background, but I've always found racing and days at the races really exciting. 

“I was back working for Dad while I made a plan, and then started with Te Akau in Matamata. I now know I want to be in the racing side and looking to a future as a trainer. I'm happy at the moment, learning heaps from everyone involved here and it's great to work for such a professional racing operation here in New Zealand. It's where I want to be, working with great staff and great horses.

“Given well bred horses and where we're working in Matamata, they're given every opportunity to perform to their best. It's competitive and they've got to show something, but so many of them are racing in high quality races not just in New Zealand, but also Australia, on the most prestigious days. Everything is up a notch and it's good for the New Zealand racing industry. 

“There are high expectations for the yearlings that David buys and a lot of them are performing on the big days. It's a buzz to be involved and you know you're looking after good horses.

“Obviously, it's an interesting time coming up for the NZ racing industry but I'm excited to be here.

“For me, it's just more and more hands on experience and learning from people like Jamie, and with thoroughbreds you never stop learning.

“Having now worked for both, I see a lot of similarities in Jamie and Aidan O'Brien. Mainly their dedication to the job, how they live the job and the job is their life. They are both so on the ball with every aspect. They train differently in the Northern Hemisphere, and Ballydoyle has all their own private land and gallops, whereas Te Akau uses a training centre. But, they have similar minds and are able to know everything about every horse in their teams.”

Mette Mosebo: “I started riding ponies when I was eight-years-old and went on to ride dressage at an international level in Europe. The age group for ponies was 16, so when I reached that age we sold them and I decided to focus more on schooling. 

“I had a dream of going to Med School, but was still helping with horses. I was accepted for Med School when I was 18, but decided not to go for it because I didn't think I was mature enough at the time. 

“Instead, I decided to travel the world and get more work experience. When I got to New Zealand, I worked for Catherine Cameron and Gary Alton in Cambridge, working with their racing team and show-jumpers. It's now five years on and I've been with Te Akau for three years.

“With the help of Jamie and Scott Lucock I've progressed to stable foreman at the colt barn and I'm definitely pleased to have got to that level. I'm eager to learn and I think you always have to be open to learning something new every day. 

Te Akau team with David Ellis - Mette on left

“I'm a competitive person and strive to be the best. Not just in competition, but to be the best version of me. So, I feel I'm developing all the time. It's why I like the colt barn, because if you want to be the best you want to work with the best. 

“It's never easy coming from overseas and not having had the racing background or family background as some of the boys, so I've had to work my way up and prove myself. There are some (people) that think girls shouldn't be working with colts, but I love the challenges that come with it and did the work Cool Aza Beel (Karaka Million winning colt). It's been a really good season for the stable.

“I'm applying for residency and hope to be able to travel some of our better horses to Australia, and in the long-term I'd like to see myself as an assistant trainer or something like that.

“I love the idea of all the hard work you put into horses and seeing the results on the racetrack. It's very rewarding and emotional. I don't have any family down here (New Zealand) and the staff and horses are basically my family. It means the world to me when everything goes the right way with the horses. 

“It's been an amazing season and if we hadn't had the lockdown we would have been well over 100 winners. We're still on top and it's been a really, really good season for Te Akau. Winning the first Karaka Million double, which is hard to top, then a double Group One wins in Sydney, and then a double Group One the following weekend at Ellerslie, we started winning everything and you nearly took it for granted. It's pretty surreal, I think. Cool Aza Beel was barely qualified for the Karaka Million a week out and then goes and wins - it's still mind-blowing for me.”


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