2018 Australian Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards winners

15 May, 2018


One of Australia’s best-known and most accomplished trackwork riders, Joe Agresta, has been named the winner of the Thoroughbred Excellence Award at the 2018 Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards.

Joe, who also won the Dedication to Racing category in the awards staged by Thoroughbred Breeders Australia and Racing Australia, was among seven GSSSA winners announced at a ceremony at Adelaide’s Morphettville Racecourse on Friday, 4 May.

Each of them received a $10,000 cash prize plus a commemorative trophy, with a further $3,000 going to the winners’ work colleagues. Each of the runners-up received $1,000.

Joe, who had a brief career as an apprentice jockey, was the main exercise rider for Bart Cummings in Melbourne during a period when the great trainer enjoyed phenomenal success, winning five of his 12 Melbourne Cups, four Cox Plates and three Caulfield Cups.

It was Joe who was relied on to follow the legendary trainer’s instructions, provide feedback after a gallop and to keep it all between the two of them.

Joe moved on from Bart Cummings’ yard in 2014 and was immediately employed by Leon Corstens, a former Cummings foreman, and his son Troy.

The 66-year-old has been a tireless advocate for stable staff and track riders, striving for better conditions for the same industry participants that the GSSSA recognises globally.

Along with the prize for winning his category, Joe received a further $5,000 for the Excellence award.

“Winning means everything to me. This award is for everybody who works in the industry across Australia,” Joe said.

“My life is this industry, I love people and the horses. I really can’t believe it, I’m shocked.”

“I just love what I do, I love helping the kids and the apprentice jockeys. I try to encourage them and help them along the way. I think I owe something back to the industry and anything I can do is terrific.”

“Honestly I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for someone who has been with me since I was a teenager – my wife. Since I started working with horses, it’s been 45 years and she has been with me every step of the way.”

“I can’t thank Godolphin and the organisers enough for what they are doing for the real unsung heroes of racing and breeding. This is a dream come true” Joe said.

Joe recalls his time with the Cummings stable fondly and with deep admiration for the man who all of Australia, and much of the world, knows as “The Cups King”.

During all the years he worked with Cummings, and until today, Joe also had another full-time job with the Moonee Valley City Council performing maintenance work on homes for the sick and needy.

Johan Petzer, Chair of the 2018 judging panel said, “Joe’s long-standing involvement and loyal commitment of over 50 years to the industry is a testament to his resolve, dedication and character, which included 34 years as a track work rider for the legendary Bart Cummings.

“Joe, an industry legend himself and a team player, is held in high regard in the industry and is a valued ambassador. Joe’s diligence and passion for the industry, and his involvement with some of the greats of the Australian turf are just some of the qualities which makes him a very deserving winner of the 2018 GSSSA Thoroughbred Excellence Award,” Petzer said.

Other winners, each of whom received a cash prize of $10,000 and a commemorative trophy, announced at the ceremony attended by some 120 guests were:

Thoroughbred Excellence Award: 

Winner: Joe Agresta, Leon and Troy Corstens/Malua Racing (VIC)

Leadership Award: 

Winner: Peter Keating, Newgate Farm (NSW)

Runner up: Jade Rossington, Willow Park Stud (NSW)

Horsemanship Award: 

Winner: Scott Eeles, Godolphin (NSW)

Runner up: Warren Sutton, McEvoy Mitchell Racing (SA)

Dedication to Breeding Award: 

Winner: Patrick Sheehan, Coolmore (NSW)

Runner up: Angus McAlpine, Eureka Cambooya Stud (QLD)

Administration and Ancillary Services Award: 

Winner: Hannah Dick, Widden Stud (NSW)

Runner up: Michelle Nichols, Arrowfield Stud (NSW)

Thoroughbred Care and Welfare Award: 

Winner: Lee Purchase, Darren Weir Racing (VIC)

Runner up: Liz Andriske, Saleyard Thoroughbreds (VIC)

Newcomer Award: 

Winner: Meg Stanley, Kathryn Durden Racing (VIC)

Runner up: Jarom Rhind, Armidale Stud (TAS)

Dedication to Racing Award: 

Winner: Joe Agresta, Leon and Troy Corstens/Malua Racing (VIC)

Runner up: Steve Adams, Anthony Freedman Racing (VIC)

For further information please go to www.studandstablestaffawards.com.au

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