Dream of winning races now reality
Young Levin jockey achieves her winning ride at Woodville races
This time last year Temyia Taiaroa was a high school student in Levin dreaming of becoming a jockey and winning races.
The 16 year old hasn’t had to wait long for it to become reality.
Taiaroa steered Wanganui horse Duffer’s Creek home for trainer Kevin Myers in the $11,000 Dannevirke Dairy Supplies 1400m at Woodville earlier this month. She settled towards the rear of the field and applied pressure on the home turn before comfortably holding off all challengers.
It was the first win of her career, coming in her seventh race-day ride.
“I’ve always wanted to be a jockey,” she said, continuing a family tradition.
Her grandfather Arnold Taiaroa was a former lightweight jockey based in the Horowhenua, while her father Evan also donned silks, albeit in amateur grade races, and was a former NZ inline hockey representative.
“I wanted to follow in their footsteps,” she said.
Taiaroa is apprenticed to Foxton trainer Sandy Cookson, who heaped praise on Myers for his willingness to allow aspiring young apprentices to ride his horses, often top-liners like Duffer’s Creek.
“He’s always been supportive of apprentices if he likes the way they ride. It gives them a really good start,” she said.
Cookson said Taiaroa was getting plenty of support from fellow female jockeys, and advice from former top jockey Noel Harris, who on retiring has taken on national mentor of apprentices.
“She is a lovely rider and getting better all the time,” she said.
Taiaroa said she first learned to ride on a pony called Pebbles owned by former trainers Bert and Dorothy Swney , and has never been far from horses since.
She also represented New Zealand at age grade level in inline hockey, captaining the national U16 girls’ team that won gold at the junior Olympics in Hawaii two years ago.
Levin teen Temyia Taiaroa is living her dream of being a jockey.
Temyia Taiaroa steered Wanganui horse Duffer’s Creek home for trainer Kevin Myers in the $11,000 Dannevirke Dairy Supplies 1400m at Woodville last week.