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Benji King - Winner Sunline Education Trust International Management Scholarship
06 Nov 2014

Benji King - Winner of Sunline Education Trust International Management Scholarship 

A couple of mates from Cambridge are the lucky recipients of the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Sunline scholarships this year.

Benji King has been awarded the Sunline Education Trust International Management Scholarship, and Dylan Treweek the scholarship to the Irish National Stud, sponsored by the Taylor family of Trelawney Stud.

In announcing the winners this week, NZTBA CEO Michael Martin stated that from a very competitive  line up of applicants, he was sure that both Benji King and Dylan Treweek would become excellent ambassadors for the New Zealand Breeding Industry.

Both are 22 and went to school in Cambridge where their respective parents run prominent successful thoroughbred farms. King is the son of Nick and Anne-Marie King of Brighthill Farm and Treweek the son of Mark and Shelley Treweek of Lyndhurst Farm.

“I like the idea of meeting new people and learning how they manage horses in other countries. Everyone does things differently and I find that fascinating,” stated King.

“I am really looking forward to going to America as it is the one place I have always wanted to go but it’s a struggle to get work there.”

King is currently working as the assistant stallion manager at Vinery in New South Wales, a position he has held for the past two seasons. On leaving school he spent a year as a general stud groom on the family farm at Brighthill before crossing the Tasman to Vinery three years ago.

During the past three years he has always been free to return to New Zealand to help with the Brighthill yearlings at Karaka, and last year travelled to Ireland for his parents to escort Azamour out to stand at Brighthill. He has also attended the Irish National Stud breeding course, and earlier this year travelled to Hong Kong with Ascot Farm where he assisted in the preparation of the Ready To Run horses for sale up there.

“I am really excited about winning this scholarship, I felt it was the right time in my career to make a move and gain more knowledge and expertise. In the long term I want to play a major part in the thoroughbred industry and would like to manage or own my own stud farm. I am sure that the scholarship will expose me to a lot of knowledge and people who will assist in my goal.”

The International Management Scholarship is a 30 week course where the recipients spend ten weeks working in all facets of the industry at Coolmore in Ireland, Cheveley Park in England and Taylor Made Farm in the United States. It was established by the Auckland Branch of the NZTBA in 2002 and aims to identify existing and potential managers within the New Zealand thoroughbred industry, offer them an opportunity to broaden their knowledge and experience, and highlight the diverse career options available within the international bloodstock business.

According to Shannon Taylor, the second recipient of this scholarship who is now a trustee of the Sunline Trust, and was on the selection committee selecting the candidates with Michael Martin, and Nicola Griffiths, this year’s applicants for both scholarships were of a high standard and both winners were worthy recipients.

The NZTBA has been selecting candidates for the Irish National Stud course for over 20 years and many of the students that have previously attended the course have graduated in first place. Many are still working in the thoroughbred industry throughout the world. The Taylor family’s K.I.A. Taylor Charitable Trust has generously funded this course since 2006.

The Irish National Stud breeding course is a five month course commencing in February and the course covers both practical and academic units covering everything from business studies, to animal welfare and pasture management. Students who successfully complete the course are awarded a certificate which is recognised throughout the thoroughbred world.

Treweek said it was King that helped persuade him to apply for the breeding course at the Irish National Stud.

“I heard about the course through my good friend Benji King and saw how much he had learned from it when he attended in 2012 and how much he enjoyed it. I then spoke to Brent and Cherry Taylor of Trelawney Stud about the course and they encouraged me to apply,” he stated.

“Really I just wanted to further my knowledge on the breeding side a bit more, and felt that the Irish National stud course and its qualification would look great on my CV. I want to learn more about equine health and the science of breeding horses”.

“I am really keen to learn all I can about breeding, about mating and foaling and pedigrees. My sister Nicole and I have been buying young horses for a couple of years now and selling them through Mum and Dad’s draft, we have had a bit of success and Mum and Dad have always checked out our selections, but they are letting us get more involved ourselves so I feel I need a better understanding from the grass roots so to speak.”

Since leaving school in 2010 Treweek has worked as a general farm hand at Lyndhurst Farm interspersed with stints at various Australian farms helping with sales preparation at Yarraman Park, Eliza Park, Newgate Farm, Sledmere Stud and Coolmore Stud.

“One day I hope to either take over Lyndhurst Farm, if Mum and Dad ever want to retire, or manage my own farm, and a course like this will be an ideal preparation and give me a bit more confidence going forward into new positions so I can work towards achieving that goal.”

Michelle Saba 
New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders Association

Benji is pictured with Brighthill Farm's bred Perfectly Ready - Penny Arcade colt  AL STRADA as a yearling, who went on to be New Zealand's leading 2YO male for the 2012/13 Season, and subsequently sold to Hong Kong.