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It’s the Racing’s Night of Champions with the crowing of our Champions, but will it be the International raiders challenging the might of Australia, all with-in New South Wales.

The British raider Addeybb, and his young jockey Tom Marquard, certainly took Sydney by storm in winning the Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes at The Championships, and the Ranvet Stakes.

The now Champion Stakes hero Addeybb is challenging for NSW Champion Horse of The Year honours, with the Caulfield Cup winner Verry Elleegant winning the Tancred Stakes and Hill Stakes.

Nature Strip was voted Australian Horse of The Year, slick 3yo Yes Yes Yes took out The $14m Everest, Farnan won the Golden Slipper and the ‘pizza loving’ Nettoyer the Doncaster Mile.

Probabeel won the Epsom Handicap, Funstar the Flight Stakes, Etah James was successful in the Sydney Cup and Handle the Truth winning The Kosciuszko for country trained horses.

However, first-up is the Strapper of The Year Award, to promote the recognition of the often unseen contribution made by stable hands to the success of the racing industry in general.

“The Australian Racing Christian Chaplaincy is thankful for the support of NSWROA and of Racing NSW towards this award,” said Rev Colin Watts, the ARCC National Chaplin.

“In particular the personal support of Peter V’landys, and having the award presented at the peak awards night for the industry is an important part.”

“The award is peer nominated with strappers being asked to nominate who they think is best deserving, with 70-80 nominees coming from metropolitan, provincial and country stables.”

“The winner is chosen by a panel of Racing NSW officials from 9 finalists, who the officials have a regular interaction with throughout the year state wide.”

Jumping from barrier one is the ‘smiling face’ of Brock Walker from Mark Newham Stables, ‘who as a dedicated team member has a great passion for his horses and for racing.’

Away Game heads Christine Duffy’s team at Ciaron Maher’s Sydney Racing with her dedication and skills essential when dealing with first-time yearlings, through to group winning horses.’

For Kris Lees Racing, ‘Graeme Wilson regularly attends Sydney Saturday meetings and with a high level of handling skills has the ability to handle the most difficult horses.’

Irish born Julie Walsh ‘made it an art form in having her mounts first out at Jump Outs, and holds a loving passion for champion Redzel, who she rode at Peter and Paul Snowden Racing.’

As Warwick Farm trainer Paul Cave said ‘Kathryn Adams has a very strong work ethic in managing the stables, educating the young horses and a loving attention to the most difficult of horses.’

‘Nerissa Copp is an invaluable asset’ for trainer Brad Widdup, ‘not only as a rider but also on the ground and with administration duties, plus having a passion for photography and videos.

‘Rocky’ Ravinder Mangat not only straps Verry Elleegant, but ‘makes the feed for all 148 horses at Chris Waller Racing Rosehill, plus doing the going away feed for Country Cups horses.’

Stephanie Alexander’s ‘horsemanship, leadership skills, attention to detail and work ethic has made for three NSW premiership titles and five SDRA premierships for Brett Cavanough.’

In strapping Sweet Deal for John Thompson, Yuko Okada ‘is a forward thinking, quiet achiever who eagerly undertakes her daily duties and continually motivates those around her.’

Rev Watts concludes that “feedback received has become highly regarded by the industry and pleasing that ‘Strapper of The Year’ has become a regular vernacular of Sydney racing.”

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