Te Akau Team Member of the Quarter

Date: 31 Oct 2022

Te Akau Team Member of the Quarter


Te Akau is proud to recognise our latest Team Member of the Quarter - Daniel (Dan) Picton - Te Akau Racing colt barn stablehand! 


Dan Picton has passed the test of time, recently celebrating being part of the team for 11 years as a stablehand for Te Akau in the Colt Barn at Matamata.

In a job that requires hard work and long hours, Picton has seen people come and go, but concludes that his longevity is down to enjoying the work, appreciating the professionalism of the Te Akau operation, and having a mortgage.



“I've seen people come and go and the main reason is that people just don't want to work hard,” he said.

“We're led by David (Ellis) and Karyn (Fenton-Ellis) and they work as hard as anyone at Te Akau, probably more so, and that leads to a good work ethic throughout the business.

“I started in the Colt Barn with Steve Autridge and then he and Jamie (Richards) when they were in partnership. Then Jamie took over and now Mark (Walker) has returned to train again for Te Akau.

“It's the first time I've worked with Mark and it's very enjoyable. He's intelligent and he works the horses and the people out pretty quickly. He gets along with everyone.

“He's always complaining about the cold, but he was away for 11 years in Singapore, so hopefully he'll warm up over summer. He's got five layers on and I'm just in my shorts and T shirt. I could be mad.



“I muck out in the mornings and swim horses and put them on the treadmill, wash them down.

“I don't bet, but if I do like a horse I watch the race. I mainly watch rugby and V8 super cars.

“Dave is good to work for and he and Karyn are very easy to approach and they're willing to help with any problems, no matter what it is. If you give them 300%, they'll give you 500% in return. They give us a lot of support.

“There are some that are jealous of the limelight that Te Akau receives, but they don't understand the work Dave and Karyn put in and the way they treat the staff.

“Our staff levels are pretty good at the moment. We probably need a few more, but they're hard to come by.

“It takes people who really care and who are capable in looking after the colts because not everyone can handle colts, it takes time to learn and master.

“It good to have Scotty Lucock back in the Colt Barn and he's enjoying it.

“I've always worked in the Colt Barn and I'm an athlete, so that's what helps. You need to be an athlete to work with the colts.

“They're always at you, but you need to keep them under control. You need to be nice and calm around them and talk to them. They're very intelligent and they know when you're nervous. If you're nice and relaxed and calm, then they'll be that way too. They'll pick up on your heartbeat if you're scared.

“I'm a bit superstitious, so don't take horses to races because it might bring bad luck. I prefer to stay home and do the work.”

"Dan's a hard working, dedicated member of the Te Akau team," says David Ellis CNZM.

"He loves the horses, and nothing is ever a problem to Dan, he gets on with the job, gets it done, and does it really well.  He's reliable and totally dependable, in fact we don't even think we remember him having a sick day in a decade!  We very much value Dan's experience and loyalty and are delighted to see him recognised as Te Akau Team Member of the Quarter!"



PS Dan's favourite horse during his career with Te Akau has been Xtravagant.

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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