Vinery’s Benji King is a deserving recipient of one of two New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association (NZTBA) Sunline scholarships this year.

Benji has been awarded the Sunline Education Trust International Management Scholarship, which aims to identify existing and potential managers within the New Zealand thoroughbred industry and teach further knowledge, skills and expertise.

The experience starting on the 20th of February will take Benji around the world over 30 weeks to three of the world’s premier studs. First he will travel to Cheverly Park Stud in Newmarket, England then he’ll be off to Coolmore Stud in Ireland and will finish the trip with Taylor Made in Kentucky, USA.

The experience means a lot to Benji who said “this is a massive stepping stone and a very prestigious opportunity in our industry.

“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.”

NZTBA CEO Michael Martin stated that this year there was a very competitive line up of applicants. He also noted that Benji and fellow scholarship awardee Dylan Treweek  would be excellent ambassadors for the New Zealand Breeding Industry.

Benji’s parents Nick and Anne-Marie King run the highly successful Brighthill Farm so Benji grew up around and always worked with thoroughbreds across all operations of the stud.

In March 2010 Benji moved to Australia and started working at Vinery Stud. He did one year preparing yearlings and then moved across to working with the stallions, where he stayed for four years.

Since his move to Australia he has continued to help Brighthill Farm with their yearlings at Karaka, and last year he travelled to Ireland to excort Azamour out to New Zealand where he now stands at Brighthill. In 2013 he had six months at the Irish National Stud doing their breeding course, and at the beginning of 2014 he travelled to Hong Kong with Ascot Farm where he assisted in the preparation of the Ready To Run horses for the Hong Kong International Sale.

Benji has been the assistant stallion manager at Vinery under the tutelage of Stallion Manager Jose Ramos for the past two years.

“Benji was such a valuable member of the Stallion crew and had a great rapport with each and every one of the stallions” Jose said.

“He’ll be sorely missed but we wish Benji every success in his future endeavours and hope to see him back at Vinery one day.”

When asked what the main thing was that he’d take away from Vinery with him Benji said “horse management – Jose taught me so much that will stay with me forever. He’s unreal and I’ll never forget the way he taught me to look after the horses.”