Dream of win­ning races now re­al­ity

Young Levin jockey achieves her win­ning ride at Woodville races

Horowhenua Chronicle - - SPORT - By PAUL WIL­LIAMS

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.

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Levin teen Te­myia Ta­iaroa is liv­ing her dream of be­ing a jockey.

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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.

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