Te Akau Team Member of the Month
24 Jun 2020
Te Akau Team Member of the Month for May is … Te Akau apprentice jockey Chelsea Burdan …
“Chelsea really stepped up at the stables when Mette (Mosebo) and other team members Sam (Bergerson) and Reece (Trumper) were out at the farm (Te Akau Stud) during lockdown,” said trainer Jamie Richards.
“Mette usually runs the Colt Barn with Scott (Lucock). We were impressed with Chelsea’s ability to step up when required and with everyone doing their best it ran really well.
“Chelsea is a highly talented apprentice and should have a very good season in front of her. She has a lot of good attributes: balance, getting stronger and just continuing to improve with experience. Plus, she’s got a good attitude towards race day riding and she’s mentally tough.”
I am an apprentice jockey for Te Akau. My main roles are to exercise horses in the morning and during Covid-19, when Mette Mosebo was at Te Akau Stud, I stepped up as assistant foreman to Scott Lucock at the Colt Barn. Scott was great with all the staff during an uncertain time and kept everyone in a good space and working well. I was updating Jamie first thing in the morning on waste feed and temperatures, and making sure everything flowed smoothly.
I enjoyed being given the extra responsibility, especially having worked there for six years. I liked the chance to prove myself and step up when required too. Mette has shown she can step up and run the Colt Barn and it’s great that we’ve been given the chance to do it. Scott (Lucock) is great to work with and always level-headed, very encouraging, and has a good sense of humour too. He keeps everyone focussed and gives people tips to work on. With Sarah West, I’m also clipping all the horses too and we’ve done about 50, so we fit that in and then I go home to do the horses and run my dogs.
For me, it’s a mix between riding trials and race days and working at the stables. I love working with such nice racehorses, especially some of the yearlings that are coming in at the moment. I’ve got my eye on a nice Savabeel colt that I really like and hope he’ll be a superstar in the making. I’ve dealt with Te Akau Shark since he was a youngster, although now he’s in Aussie.
Growing up in Matamata, I never really travelled much and have enjoyed getting around the country as a jockey. I won my first ever ride on Lady Zeraph at Waipukurau, and winning races is such a buzz. There is nothing else like it and I say to people that back winners that riding a winner is like times that by one-hundred.
Working at Te Akau is great because we’re surrounded by so many good horses and always having success. It’s just a thrill to be involved in winning races like the Karaka Million each year for the last four. There is a lot of long hours and hard work but it’s worth it. We have a wonderful team spirit, it’s fantastic and without wanting to sound too cheesy we are like a big, happy family. Everyone gets along. We’re not trying to cut each other’s throats and take time to see everyone’s points of view. It’s great and makes it feel good going to work.
David (Ellis) is a good boss to work for. David and Karyn were so supportive of all the staff during lockdown, which was quite tough for a lot of people in difficult times. They put a lot of hard work into the staff during that time. David is always trying to get the best out of me. He got me going to the gym and working on my fitness and I started riding more winners and got a treble on race day twice. I had my fitness up there when we returned on Saturday at Pukekohe (20 June), and it made a big difference.
Jamie (Richards) is always trying to help me with my riding. He’ll sit down with me and analyze races and get me to make comments on the ride before giving his advice. He understands racing and tracks and positions to be in etc more than most. He’s come along way and built a really good reputation and he’s someone for people to look up to if they want to train. He’s a hard worker and never seems to stop working – always up and about doing something. He’s totally committed to what he’s doing. Jamie is also really good at the business side of things and keeping everything well organized. He’s taken onboard quite a lot and he’s having plenty of success.
My stable highlight for the season was Te Akau Shark winning his first Group 1 at Te Rapa, and then he won another Group 1 in Sydney. I had been dying to see him win a Group 1 and he was so deserving of it. It was only a matter of time. Riding wise, apart from a couple of trebles, I rode a winner for trainer Steph Tierney, On Demand, a day after my Nana passed away, so it was quite special. It was just great to get the win for myself, my family, and my Nana. I’ll always remember that. Another thing I won’t forget is winning on Battle Time after the saddle slipped.
I used to do quite a bit of work with Cool Aza Beel as a yearling and when he won his first couple of races. So it was quite cool to see him win the Karaka Million this year and that the hard work paid of. Also, as I mentioned, another horse that is coming through is the Savabeel – Magic Dancer colt that David bought at Karaka. I think he’s going to be a really nice horse. He’s forward moving and a quick learner.
Sadly, Griffin has been retired. I won three times on him and he’s been re-homed to my place. They X-rayed him and found a bone chip in his sesamoid. He’ll spend a couple of months having time off and I’ll get the vet to have a look him before we work him up as an eventer or show-jumper. He’s a nice kind horse, a gentlemen and he’s loving life at the moment. It’s good to have had success on the horse and now I can take him on in a new role. I also adopted former stakes’ winner Chambord and he too is living the life!
Growing up, I always wanted to be a jockey or a trainer. Kate Hercock, who was a jockey, got me into racing. I always spent time with her helping out with pre-trainers and racehorses and she took me into Te Akau when I was 13 and started working weekends and holidays. I talked to Jamie (Richards) and Steve (Autridge) about becoming an apprentice and they got me up to that stage.
I was born and bred in Matamata, so sort of have to like it. It’s a good community in a small town and I like that it’s a good location to other bigger places. I’ve learned to love it and it’s a pretty good place, really. We used to host exchange students and I’ve been in Tokyo, Japan, for a few months staying with them and going to school. I studied Japanese for five years and it was good to see how different it is to Kiwi culture and see their racing as well. I’d like to look at going there to ride and being able to speak the language should be a great help.
David (Ellis) and Karyn (Fenton-Ellis) introduced the monthly award as a way of saying thanks to all the team, from themselves and also on behalf of the owners, in appreciation of horses being given the opportunity to fulfil their potential.
“I keep saying that because these people love horses, they’re prepared to get up at 3.30 a.m. in winter and summer, rain, hail, and shine,” Ellis said.
“We create opportunities for young people to get involved in a thoroughbred business that we try to run as professionally as we can, and also employ people that have spent their careers working in the industry and bring enormous amounts of experience.”
The Team Member of the Month receives a cash prize and overall winner an all expenses paid trip for two to the Gold Coast.