Te Akau Apprentices Shine at Awards

Date: 14 Dec 2023

Te Akau apprentices Jessica Allen and Niranjan Parmar, and Te Akau Australia team member Tayla Mitchell, were all recognised and celebrated at the Northern Apprentice Jockey Awards, sponsored by Tony and Vicki Rider at Milan Park, and held on 11 December at Cambridge Stud.

Te Akau has been home to a number of apprentice jockeys, among others: Vinnie Colgan, Opie Bosson, Troy Harris, Daniel Stackhouse, Samantha Collett, Daniel Miller, Wiremu Pinn, Jasmine Fawcett, Tegan Newman, Joe Kamaruddin, Chelsea Burdan, and Shafiq Rusof.

“Te Akau has a great reputation and history with apprentice jockeys and consider it an important part of the racing industry to not only train good horses but also back its young people and develop skill sets in our staff and young riders,” said Te Akau principal David Ellis CNZM.

“Not all of them can make it, but those that have taken the opportunity have gone on to do pretty well for themselves in life, with their commitment to racing, and we certainly try and give them every chance of a good grounding in not just riding but also horsemanship and other life skills.

“A few years ago, the number of winning rides increased to coincide with their weight claim, which was a very good imitative, allowing them to get more experience and wins before losing their claims, and the weight relief just shows how competitive they can be.”

Commenting on the awards' evening, Northern Riding Master Noel Harris said: “It was a very good night and we really appreciate Brendan and Jo (Lindsay) hosting us at Cambridge.

“It’s a privilege for these kids to see such a beautiful setup, in the function facility next to the museum at Cambridge Std. It really is fantastic, and it went off brilliantly.

“We had Bruce Sharrock (CEO NZTR) there, Michael Coleman was a guest speaker, as well, and George Simon was the MC.”

Recent addition to the team, talented rider Tayla Mitchell, joined the awards' ceremony by zoom link and was delighted to be honoured as the Northern Premier Apprentice Jockey of the Year. Tayla recently joined Te Akau Australia's Cranbourne stable.

"We are indeed fortunate to have such a rising star as Tayla join our Victorian stable - she's a top track work rider and once her apprenticeship licence is finalised, we will be delighted to see her our riding raceday in the tangerine," said David Ellis CNZM.

Parmar, who last year won the Most Improved Apprentice Jockey (sponsored by Lee Somervell), won the Bill Simon Trophy for best ride of the season.

“The trophy was put up by George Simon’s father, and George picked out the winning ride,” Harris said.

The ride selected was indeed superb aboard She’s Outrageous (4 m Reliable Man – She’s Insatiable, by Ustinov), trained by Mark Walker, in the Maiden 1600 metres on 29 October, 2022, at Matamata.

Bred and owned by Gerard Peterson, She’s Outrageous is raced in conjunction with owners Grant Smith, Chris Talbot, Bruce Page, Tony Edwards, Grayham Jennings, Garry Bluett, John Bowring, Ash Dann and Brad Peterson.

Parmar, who won earlier on the programme aboard stable-mate Hero Worship (Xtravagant) had She’s Outrageous trucking behind horses turning for home and only seized on a gap late in the piece to fly through for victory. It was a devastating performance and very similar to his ride on Hero Worship.

“Parmar’s done well and we just had to slow him down a bit with the suspensions he was getting, and he looks good when he does slow things down and does it all right,” Harris said.

Jess Allen won the Most Promising First Year Apprentice Jockey.

On her first day of riding, in April this year at Te Rapa, Allen finished fourth aboard Te Akau trained Hero Worship (Xtravagant) before saluting in her next ride aboard stable-mate Aotea Lad (Savabeel), before ending the season with 10 wins, while adding a further nine wins this season.

“She’s just at that stage, got a good three-kilo claim, and you can see her getting more and more opportunities,” Harris said.

“I want to see balance and rhythm in these kids and Jess has come a long way in short time in being able to do that, and she just has to lift her upper body strength and she’ll be away.”

Harris also commented on budding Te Akau apprentice Tayla-Jo Melvin.

“She’s had 30-odd trial rides and due to get her licence heading into autumn,” Harris added.

“She’s very tidy, similar to her good friend Kelsey Hannan, who was one of our leading apprentices last season and is now riding in Adelaide.”

Photo credit: Love Racing

Te Akau Apprentices Shine at Awards

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