By Abby Delucyk

As someone passionate about giving horses a life of luxury after racing, Emma Cox took on 8yo Teddy through mutual friends of the family in the middle of COVID lockdowns. Little did she know that this horse would be crowned a winner in the 2023 Sydney Royal Easter Show and become her new best friend.

Regal Edition, now known as Teddy, is an 8yo Reliable Man X Cross Rate gelding who raced as Greenspan. Bred by Bradbury Park in New Zealand, he was brought to Australia as a two-year-old for the Proven Thoroughbreds syndication. He was introduced to racing at the iconic Royal Randwick by trainer John Thompson before being transferred to Goulburn under John Bateman and finally to Kembla Grange under the guidance of Kerry Parker.

Retired from racing only 18 months ago, Teddy has since pursued a career in showing and won the Inaugural Up & Coming Led Thoroughbred class for horses who have retired from racing within the last two years at the 2023 Sydney Royal Easter Show.

As winners, Emma said, “We did not expect it in the lead up to the show, long-term competitor, master horseman and our trainer at home, Stephen Gladstone, was leading Teddy, so I knew I did not have to worry about anything. My job that day was to prep the horse to look the part, Steve did the rest!”

Based in Centennial Park, the original showgrounds for Sydney Royal, Emma spends many hours a day ensuring that Teddy is as healthy and prepared as possible for each show, particularly the royals. “Preparation really begins twelve months before. The training, feeding, short spells and management of their day-to-day care is endless, but the feeling of riding at Sydney makes it all worth it.”

Teddy’s success did not end in the led classes. Emma rode him herself to finish 5th in the Novice Hack 15.2-16hh and 8th in the Lady’s Hack, an achievement for any horse, but particularly one so new to showing. “We went with the aim of being called in off the ring for a workout, so to leave placing amongst some beautiful and seasoned horses from across Australia was an amazing feeling.”

Teddy, named in tribute to Emma’s previous thoroughbred ‘Bear’, had stolen her heart after she accidentally stumbled upon him. “I spent ten months during COVID looking for a special horse to take on and show. We seemed to be having no luck when Bill Mitchell phoned and said he had a horse that had raced that day who may be suited for life as a show horse.”

Emma did not see any photos of him but drove to Kembla Grange the next day and picked him up. “The connection of my parents’ golfing friends, Peter and Meg Robinson, who owned some racehorses themselves, found him. When he arrived, he was fluffy and a little rough around the edges, but he settled in instantly, which was fantastic. I just had to cross my fingers and hope a special little horse was hiding underneath,” Emma said.

“Teddy loves to work. The harder it is or, the more interesting the trick, the more he gets into it. We do a lot of dressage and cross-training at home, and often our warmup at a show consists of the same. When the atmosphere at a show is unsettling for him, I will always go back to moving him off my leg, controlling the shoulder, and regaining his focus, something Steve has taught me for many years,” Emma said.

As Teddy has only been retired from the track for 18 months, he has a lot of potential and capacity to grow in the sport. “The plan is to continue to show Teddy as he is just such a pleasure. He makes it so easy, which is not always the case. Our next competition will be the Pacific Coast Hack Championships before a well-deserved spell to spend some time with our next horse.” Emma said.

We wish this duo good luck in all future competitions.

Emma and Teddy are proudly sponsored by Mickie Magan – Equine Herbalist and Body Worker

Photo Credit: Allira Fontana Photography

Godolphin’s Golden Girl

If you told a young Amy Walker that she would be donning the iconic blue uniform and strapping ‘Exploring’ in the prestigious 2023 Golden Slipper, she would have thought you were lying.

Now, this is her reality.

Amy’s love for horses was ingrained into her from a young age through the influence of her mother, who spent her childhood surrounded by horses.

“My mum passed on this passion as she bought me my first horse when I was around 7 years old. She always said I would grow out of this obsession I had with riding and kept insisting it was just a hobby. Much to her dismay I was very persistent with it, and she ended up buying me a years’ worth of riding lessons to help me develop my skills,” Amy said.

It was at Mulgoa Pony Club that Amy learnt the fundamentals of riding and got up at the crack of dawn every Saturday to ride.

Amy strapping Exploring in the 2023 Longines Golden Slipper.

With Amy still well and truly invested in riding, she purchased her first off the track Thoroughbred in 2013, who was a 3yo 17hh gelding called ‘Ace’. This purchase kick started her ownership of horses, which has expanded to having 4 horses in her care now.  

As Amy grew up, her introduction into the racing industry came through her experience of working at a TAB call centre for 3 years when she was fresh out of school.

“It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do but I knew it was never in an office job and instead working with animals. I left TAB and worked in a dog shelter before I started at a dressage stable with Hannah & Heidi Scott in Glenorie,” Amy said.

Although Amy had returned to working with horses, she still didn’t feel like she was in the right job.

“I always remember driving past the Godolphin stables at Agnes Banks and dreaming of working there. I thought why not ask if they have a position available, so I gave them a call but wasn’t hopeful at all because I know how hard it is to work there,” Walker said.

To Amy’s surprise, Godolphin came calling the next day to organise an interview which sent her hopes skyrocketing. Within 72hrs from her original call, Amy was offered a racing hand job for Godolphin.

“Godolphin is just an all-round amazing place to work, and I’ve achieved a lot with them. I’ve been there for 4 years now and genuinely can’t fault it,” Amy said.

Within these 4 years, Amy’s favourite moment was in 2019 when she strapped her first winner, Vivaro at Hawkesbury, just a month after she started at the well-known stable.

Despite this, Amy mentions, “My favourite horse will always be Segalas as she was the first horse I looked after at Godolphin and strapped for 3 years.  

“I love being a stable hand and strapper, but I would eventually love to explore the possibility of being a Foreman one day and working up to this. The good thing with Godolphin is they always offer room for growth and the opportunities are endless.

“I found my dream job which not a lot of people can say,” Amy concluded.

Chelsea Hillier Is Taking The Racing Scene By Storm

By Abby Delucyk

“I was just a kid who loved horses and lived on a farm.”

Rising NSW Apprentice jockey Chelsea Hillier may be from a small rural country town, but she is making a big impact on the racing scene.

Growing up in rural Barraba, Hillier has been surrounded by horses her whole life.

“We have always had horses growing up as Dad is a jockey and mum loves to ride.”

Although Chelsea was an active member of Barraba Pony Club, she never competed in any specific discipline and simply enjoyed riding and being around horses.

Her passion for horses was forced to sit on the backburner as her family relocated to Glen Innes and went on to attend Fairholme College boarding school in Toowoomba.

It wasn’t until Chelsea finished school that she could invest her time into racing. Reuniting with her passion, Chelsea stayed in Queensland where she started on the ground with trainer Brian Smith.

Although Chelsea enjoyed this experience, she had a burning desire to learn to ride trackwork and decided to move back home to Glenn Innes to ignite this dream.

She picked up where she left off and started riding trackwork for local trainer Paddy Cunningham. It was here that Chelsea put in the hours to learn the ins and outs of riding.

“It was since riding trackwork that I always had in the back of my mind to become a jockey. I always was that little bit too heavy so I resigned to the fact I could never be a jockey,” Chelsea said.

Chelsea was on a roll with her riding practice before this came to an abrupt holt after she sustained a bad injury from a routine morning ride on a Coffs Harbour beach. This saw Chelsea sidelined for 12 months.

With this forced time off, Chelsea decided to relocate to Sydney. When covid hit, Hillier used this time to strip some weight and become a jockey for popular trainer, Mark Newnham.

“The weight aspect is really challenging part for me as I am not naturally a lightweight and need to stay on top of this. The mental side of being a jockey is also a challenge as you have to remember to stay true to yourself,” Chelsea said.

As the weight stayed off, Chelsea has continued to excel in her riding career and has since moved to Scone to ride on behalf of Rod Northam. A career highlight for Hillier was when she scored at Treble in front of a home crowd at Deepwater earlier this year.

“This was a pretty big achievement for myself considering I was so heavy and just the journey I took to get here. I really look up to Craig Williams as an inspiration for riding but also as the person he is. He really gives back to the sport, and I admire his kindness,” Chelsea said.

Paying tribute to her families’ support, Hillier mentions “I have been bought up in a way that nothing is easy, and you have to work hard for what you want. I would love to be able to ride in Sydney one day and just be the best rider I can be.”

With hard work being ingrained in Hillier’s DNA, it’s no surprise that she is an apprentice to watch this season.