Ashley Handley


Ashley Handley is the Foreperson at Te Akau’s ‘Main Barn’ and is one of Te Akau's highly experienced work riders, having travelled extensively in Australia with our horses. 

The ‘Main Barn’ was the original stable that was home to all Te Akau’s horses before we expanded, adding barns at the Matamata racecourse.

No matter where she is located, looking after the Te Akau team of horses, either in Australia or New Zealand, Ashley is an invaluable member not only because of her natural ability with horses but also due to her versatility and dedication to every aspect of her role.

A fine example of this was when Ashley left her home in Matamata in February 2020 to take up the important assignment of overseeing the campaigns of our ‘headline’ horses in Sydney: Te Akau Shark, Melody Belle, and Probabeel.  All three were Group 1 winners in Australia.  She also experienced a massive thrill when both Te Akau Shark and Probabeel won back-to-back Group 1’s on the same day at Randwick – the Group 1 Chipping Norton and the Group 1 Surround Stakes.

It was only a short time later that COVID-19 hit Australia, and while racing continued there, it did not in New Zealand. Ashley took this change on board and chose to remain in Australia after the autumn, caring for our horses at a time that saw so many restrictions nationally and internationally.

In 2021, Ashley was one of three finalists (representing the Northern Region) for the NZTR Stablehand of the Year Award – which she ultimately won. We could not be more proud of this accolade, and it was thoroughly well-deserved. It recognised her outstanding dedication to her role, going well beyond what would normally be expected due to trans-Tasman Covid-19 travel restrictions. 

Ashley had also been named as our Te Akau Team Member Of The Month in 2019. In 2023 Ashley added another 'string to her stable bow' when she led the South Island team before being injured in a fall, fortunately not too seriously. 

Ashley has such a natural instinct for the thoroughbred, always placing their care and well-being at the forefront of her thinking. She is a pleasure to have on our team, and we look forward to her continuing to play a key role with Te Akau. 

Ashley Handley

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