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Irish National Stud Scholarship recipients announced

Morgan Wilks parading a weanling at Haunui Farm.
Morgan Wilks parading a weanling at Haunui Farm.

The New Year will bring new opportunities for two young thoroughbred breeding industry participants.

Morgan Wilks (22) and Alice Jeffries (21) have been named as the recipients of the 2023 Irish National Stud Scholarship, supported by the Keith and Faith Taylor Family Trust.

The pair will fly to Ireland in January next year to complete the internationally recognised Irish National Stud Breeding Diploma before completing a six-month tenure at Trelawney Stud in Cambridge.

“We had an outstanding calibre of candidates this year,” New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association CEO Justine Sclater said. “This made the selection process very difficult but we are confident that we have awarded the scholarship to two recipients that will not only represent the New Zealand breeding industry well while over there, but will benefit from the experience and continue to contribute to our industry on their return for years to come.

“I would like to encourage those who missed out this year to reapply in 2023. We are also working to create opportunities for them domestically as we need to foster the passion and enthusiasm of our young industry participants and create education and career pathways to give them the best chance to succeed and contribute to our industry.”

Morgan Wilks is currently employed at Haunui Farm and has completed a Bachelor of Agricultural Science as well as a year of Paramedicine study.

After working on weekends at a harness racing stable, Wilks joined the yearling sales preparation team at Te Runga in 2010 and hasn’t looked back since. As well as working for Lisa Latta, she has honed her skills while employed at the Chitty family’s Haunui Farm.

She is currently enrolled in the Level 4 Breeding Equine course and became aware of the scholarship while on the block course.

“The Equine Breeding Course is giving me a really good background and while on the block course we were told about the Irish National Stud Scholarship,” Wilks said.

“Mark Chitty really encouraged me to apply for the scholarship and I’m thankful to him for his support.

“It means everything to be awarded the scholarship. I’m so grateful and am looking forward to the opportunities I’ll get to further my education. It will set me up for life really.”

Alice Jeffries leading a yearling from Carlaw Park's draft at Karaka
Alice Jeffries leading a yearling from Carlaw Park's draft at Karaka

Alice Jefferies is in the final stages of a Bachelor of Commerce and Agriculture at Lincoln University and is a familiar face around the Karaka sales complex during the yearling sales.

“I’ve done a few yearling preps over the years and I’m looking forward to heading over to Ireland to further my experience and learn as much as I can,” she said.”

“I’ve been lucky to have had quite a few people help me out and influence me over the years. People I’ve met through my dad as well as Nick Fairweather and Nicole Brown at Carlaw Park, they have really opened my eyes up to things like pinhooking and yearling preparation.

“It has always been in the back of my mind to apply for the scholarship and I felt with finishing university this year the timing was right.

“It is a huge achievement to be awarded the scholarship and a privilege to be able to represent New Zealand in Ireland. I’m not only looking forward to doing the diploma but also working at Trelawney Stud and seeing where the experience can take me.” - Amie Best, NZTBA