It Takes a Team

Date: 22 Jan 2021

It Takes a Team


TDN - New Zealand & Australia) Thoroughbred Daily News reports:


Welcome to TDNAusNZ's ‘It Takes A Team', brought to you in conjunction with the Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards. Here we highlight and celebrate some of the heroes of our industry. The strappers, riders, stud-workers and people behind the scenes of our champions. The people who are up late into the night foaling or up at the crack of dawn to trackwork, working tirelessly to keep the industry running.


Today we speak with Lena Jones, the Racing Manager for Te Akau Racing. Managing a busy racing stable along with owner communications has Lena wishing there were more hours in the day, we learn about how she started in the industry and her favourite aspects about her role.


TDN AusNZ: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started in the industry?

Lena Jones: My Dad is an owner/trainer and we have always had horses and ponies at home. I had done a couple of yearling preps in New Zealand then headed to the Hunter Valley, to Coolmore for two seasons. I then went to Coolmore America for one season, returning to Brisbane to work for a racing stable at Eagle Farm. I then came home to New Zealand in 2015 and have been with Te Akau since 2017.




TDN AusNZ: What is your role and what does it involve?

LJ: I am the Stable Manager and almost like Jamie's (Richards, Te Akau trainer) PA, which he hates me saying! I am responsible for all our owner communications, employment administration, photos, travel arrangements, visa paperwork, racehorse schedules etc.


TDN AusNZ: What does a normal day look like for you?

LJ: My day is mainly taken up by owners' updates. It is also a busy time of the year managing the horses schedules, nominations, horse movements and everything you would imagine, a leading stable has to be meticulous about administrative. There are plenty of critical deadlines that I keep a close eye on.


TDN AusNZ: What is the most challenging part of your job?

LJ: Sometimes it feels as though there are not enough hours in the day!


TDN AusNZ: What is your favourite aspect of this role?

LJ: Seeing the horses winning and the stable going so well. As I have a lot of interaction with Te Akau owners, it gives me such a thrill to see them enjoying their racing, and their success. I really enjoy seeing all the new horses too that David (Ellis, Te Akau Principal) purchases when they arrive in the stable, and watching their careers unfold.



TDN AusNZ: Who is your favourite Te Akau horse that you have ever worked with?

LJ: I mainly stick to the office as that keeps me busy enough, but Weaponry would be my favourite.


TDN AusNZ: Do you have any mentors who have helped you along the way?

LJ: I would always be bouncing ideas off Mum, Dad and my brother who is also in the industry. Kelly Schweida at Eagle Farm was very good to work for, and now Jamie (Richards) is great - as well as David and Karyn (Fenton-Ellis).


TDN AusNZ: What is one piece of advice you would give to someone looking to make their start in the industry?

LJ: Work hard, gain experience and then aim to work your way up in a specific role.


TDN AusNZ: What is your favourite time of year in the industry?

LJ: Around Christmas and the New Year, there is plenty of great racing on rolling into the yearling sales and Karaka Million


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