May 04, 2018

We get to know Snowden Racing’s Officer Administrator Robyn McRae, a treasured member of the team who’s lived a life as a horsetrainer, agistment farm manager, track work rider, family matriarch and experienced some true highs and lows of the thoroughbred racing industry. Here, she opens up on her journey!

Robyn what does your role at Snowden Racing involve? As office administrator, I process all of the monthly accounts, payment of wages and Snowden Racing accounts, enrolling of new staff, attend to clients queries and other ad hoc things that come up in an office environment which require attention. 

Where did your passion for thoroughbreds first start? I was born in the Southland of Island of New Zealand in a small seaside village of Riverton and had ponies when growing up. I naturally moved across to riding track work at the age of 15 and found the transition quite easy. My husband Gareth was a jockey back in those days and then became a trainer so I have always been involved. 

What’s your background experience in the industry? I trained horses in partnership with my husband for 10 years in Riverton before moving to Sydney in 1995. In 2000, we moved to Macau where Gareth was assistant trainer to Gary Moore and then moved back to NZ after six years where I managed an agistment farm and Gareth starting training from Pukekohe up until 2014. We then moved back to Sydney.

So, you’ve got quite the affinity with Sydney? Well we love the weather and lifestyle and of course the racing. My daughter Tessa and her husband Adam and their kids Eden & Darcie live here as well, while my other daughter Casey and her husband Glen and their kids Sam, Luca & Maya live in Dunedin NZ, so there's a bit of travel still back and forth. 

In your opinion, what’s the key to running a good stable office? Good procedures and communication in place so nothing is missed as office life is very busy and so many factors involved. Welcoming and friendly environment.

Best horse seen on a racetrack? Frankel at Royal Ascot. I also saw Black Caviar win at Royal Ascot which was incredible; it’s a must do trip for any racing enthusiast. And I have to mention Winx of course.

Snowden Racing horse to follow for the future? Pure Elation. She's a talented filly. 

Favourite holiday destination? New York. It’s such as beautiful city, lively, multicultural, easy to get around and I found people were so friendly. Another favourite is a small town just out of Brussels called Bruges - amazing medieval town. Very beautiful

What is something that not many people may not know about you? Sadly my son Sam died at the age of 16 in a race riding accident which was very hard to accept and deal with as this was in industry that was our livelihood and had taken our son. Several times we thought of throwing the towel in with racing but it seemed to draw us back in.

Biased I know, but I have two amazing daughters and am the grandmother of five beautiful granddaughters.

Interview: Sarah Peatling

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