Te Akau Appoints New NZ Assistant Trainer

Date: 9 Jul 2023

Te Akau Appoints New NZ Assistant Trainer

We are proud to announce that Nicole Shailer, Te Akau senior stable foreperson, has been appointed to the role of Assistant Trainer, from the start of the new season (1 August).


Nicole has had a lifetime career working with horses and is a highly experienced professional.  This was recognised last year when she was named New Zealand Stableperson of the Year at New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing's Horse of the Year awards, having previously been named as one of three national finalists.

A dedicated and passionate member of the Te Akau team, Nicole has spent six years in her current role, managing the Middle Barn at our Matamata stable. Te Akau principal David Ellis CNZM sees this promotion as a natural progression in her career:

“Nicole has been a great asset as a senior foreperson and we're proud to appoint her to the position of Assistant Trainer for our New Zealand stable,” Ellis said.  "She has had horses such Avantage, Melody Belle and Probabeel under her care, and her attention to detail is exemplary.



“Nicole is a true professional, and always delivers to an exceptional standard in every aspect of her role. Importantly, as with Sam Bergerson before her, she brings strong leadership attributes to the position, and is also especially skilled in developing and nurturing younger team members.

“This appointment is a timely and thoroughly well-earned step in her career. We like to promote loyal team members, with world class skills, and she has proven her value in every area of the operation. She's excited about the opportunity and we know she will give it her all, that's who she is.”

Since being back at the helm for over a year now, record-setting trainer Mark Walker has worked closely with Nicole and endorses her appointment as Assistant Trainer.

“Nicole's got a phenomenal work ethic, and is an outstanding all-round horse person. She's brilliant at teaching newcomers to the team, and is a great mentor - she has the ability to bring people up to another level.

“Anyone we need to teach, we place them with Nicole and we soon see a big difference. They are able to increase their responsibilities and take the next step themselves - it's a privilege to have Nicole on the team.”



As current foreman of the Middle Barn, Nicole has the job of making sure everything runs smoothly while coordinating both the horses in training and her team.  She is a busy mother too:

“Matamata is my home and the children TK (11) and Harper (5) are settled and doing extremely well at their schoolwork and sports."

It's her love of horses that keeps her in racing, while Te Akau's commitment to professionalism and the way horses are treated is what has kept her involved with our stable:

“I have a lot of respect for Mark and Sam, and it's an honour to be given the role of working alongside them in the new season as Assistant Trainer,” she said.

“Everyone at Te Akau is so dedicated to their job. We're totally focussed on bringing out the very best in every single horse through attention and care.  It's great to work with people like that day in and day out - people who are there for the welfare of the horses, making sure every task is done to the highest standard possible.

“We've also got young team members who love going to the races, and who know so much about the horses.  It's really great that we've got these young people coming through who want to make a career out of working with thoroughbreds - I look forward to encouraging them every step of the way and working together to continue to deliver outstanding results for our owners.”

“Helping to manage the team is something I'm looking forward to - I'm pleased that David and Karyn, and Mark, believe I have the credentials for the Assistant Trainer role and I'll do everything I can to justify their faith in me - it's exciting."



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