Te Akau Team Member of the Quarter

Date: 26 Jul 2021

Te Akau Team Member of the Quarter


Te Akau is proud to recognise our latest Team Member of the Quarter - Michael Roustoby - Te Akau Racing track work rider and high-weight/jumps' jockey! 


“Michael's reliability and attitude to his role speaks volumes about the person he is and we value his involvement and commitment enormously,” said Te Akau principal David Ellis CNZM as Michael was recognised at the recent Te Akau Racing stable team celebration dinner.

“He always has a smile on his face, is only too happy to help us out in the afternoons when required and that sort of dedication is not only much appreciated but never forgotten.”

Onboard for two years now riding track work at Te Akau Racing, Roustoby (35) had the honour of guiding home the 100thNZ winner for the stable last season aboard Bak Da Master (Mastercraftsman) and the pair has since combined for three additional wins.

Aboard Richard of Yorke (Oasis Dream), another member of the jumps' fraternity, Roustoby won the Restricted Open Hurdle (3100m) in late June at Te Aroha.



“We'd placed in all five jumps starts prior and I was thrilled to get the win,” Roustoby said. “He wasn't that confident to start with over hurdles and once he gained confidence we struck a couple of tracks that were too firm at Ellerslie. He still tried his heart out for second and third, though.

“He's struck wet tracks to suit this season, fit and ready, and Jamie (Richards) has taken his time developing him the right way."

Originally from Australia, New Zealand has been home to Roustoby for the last 14 years after a three-month stint became permanent. A keen follower of racing worldwide and the mechanics of how different jurisdictions operate, he has a high opinion of Te Akau Racing.

“David (Ellis) and Karyn (Fenton-Ellis) have been brilliant and looked after me,” he said. “They've given me every opportunity, so I'll keep working hard to pay them back.

“It's the most well run and professional racing operation I've ever worked for - a well-oiled machine. We've got Jamie (Richards) at the top, but he's got forepersons underneath him that have trained in their own right that are reporting to him.

“Jamie is the best trainer to ride for because some days you win and other days you learn. He is the first to give great advice after a race and not give you a spray when you get beaten. It's also great to have champion jumps' jockey Craig Thornton on staff. He's very much like my coach and I feel I'm improving all the time.

“Te Akau has great track riders and ground staff and everyone knows what's expected of them. Nothing gets missed and for the owners investing in horses they can rest assured that they're getting the best attention to detail.



“I helped out working afternoons for six months when it was difficult to get overseas workers, with border restrictions. You see the horses in a different light in the afternoons: in the paddocks with their mates and bringing them at night.

“The structures were in place so that everyone finished up at the same time, and they're always looking to improve their systems. It runs smoothly and the success they have is no accident.

“Te Akau employs both the right staff and enough staff. When you work for a stable that's understaffed, people rush and things can go wrong.

“When you work for people that work hard themselves it makes a difference. They say: ‘a real leader leads', and Jamie, David and Karyn, all the staff know that they're all putting in long hours and it drives everyone else to keep pace.

“If you have a playboy trainer, skiving off, it's human nature for people to adopt a similar attitude. But, when you work for people that are hugely committed you either put in or drop away and do something else. It keeps people on their toes and it's why everyone does a good job.”


David and Karyn developed the Te Akau Team Member Award to recognise amazing people who are passionate and committed to Te Akau - the winner each quarter receives a cash bonus.



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