Sally Bruss is one of the few women to hold a prominent position in South Africa’s breeding industry – being the long-standing stud manager of 32 years, at the much-decorated Lammerskraal Farm near Ceres, South Africa. Sally became fascinated by horses when she took her German shepherd for training, inside Greyville racecourse. Given her experience, she has become very familiar with their 60-strong broodmare band which helps her plan her matings for excellent results.
Lammerskraal gained a boost, when the son of their mare (Sweet Virginia), Do It Again won the Gr.1 Vodacom Durban July (2018 & 2019), Gr.1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate (2019) and was named South Africa's Horse Of The Year for 2018-2019
Bruss speaks to The Impact about the South African based Lammerskraal Stud.
Q: What is the next sale you will be at and which Lots are the highlight of that draft?
A: We have a very strong draft for the Cape Thoroughbred Sales auction to be held mid-January in Cape Town.
Due to an abundance of fillies born in the 2018 foal crop 7 fillies are destined for the sale and 2 colts. The fillies are very well-bred, smart individuals by:
- Gimmethegreenlight X 2, being out of a SA Broodmare of the Year Akinfeet, and full sister to top-class In The Dance. The other out of a full sister to Horse of the year YARD-ARM.
- Visionaire filly out of 2018 SA Broodmare of the Year and half-sister to 2 Gr1 winners.
- Dynasty filly out of a Gr1 winner and full sister to promising youngster Sovereign Spirit.
- Duke of Marmalade filly out of Dubai Gina (Aus) Listed winner and Gr1 placed, by Dubai Destination and a half-sister to Harmattan and Anemoi.
- Var filly out of a full sister to two Gr1 winners.
- William Longsword filly out of stakes-placed full and half-sister to 3 Graded stakes winners.
The two colts are:
- Var out of a Gr2 winner from prolific stakes-winning a family
- Vercingetorix colt from a full and half-sister to 3 Graded stakes winners.
I cannot separate the above yearlings. On conformation and pedigree, they will have a definite appeal to the many international visitors expected to attend the sale. We have a further 36 to market thereafter.
Q: How do you plan high-quality matings? And how far in advance do you plan these matings?
A: Having worked on Lammerskraal for over 30 years now, I am very familiar with our Broodmare Band. We have a number of exceptional mares and their daughters, whom I know well. In my opinion, due to the struggling South African economy and export status, we probably have the poorest line-up of stallions standing at stud for many years. This makes it very difficult to plan matings, when a stud has a good number of high-quality broodmares, as we have. Saying that we at Lammerskraal are pleased about the two exciting new well-bred and performed young stallions to be imported. Erupt (Dubawi) and Lancaster Bomber (War Front). To facilitate the matings, which I would normally start planning after our April National Sale, I make very good use of True Nicks and Goldmine G1.
Q: What factors do you take into account when you choose stallions for your farm? How large is your current broodmare band and who is your top mare?
A: We have always placed a good deal of importance into good racing ability, conformation and temperament when it comes to choosing the stallions we buy services to and broodmares we breed from. We try to breed a horse sound of mind and body. Quality plays a very big role as well.
Lammerskraal stands 60 mares and 2 stallions, both USA Grade 1 winners:
- Go Deputy (Deputy Minister) a half brother to high-class Gr 1 winner Dare and Go and a sire who consistently produces a high percentage of graded stakes winners per annum.
- Visionaire (Grand Slam) a half brother to 4 stakes winners in the USA and the Leading First Crop Sire in SA, who is the sire of Takingthepeace winner of 6 incl the SA Fillies Classic Gr1, Africa Rising 7 wins incl The Merchants Gr2 and Gr1 placed etc
At Keenland USA 2019, Visionaire's half brother (Lot 68) sold for USD 800,000 while a colt (Lot 138) from his half-sister sold for US$ 2.1 million
Q: Could you tell us about some of the most expensive horses you have sold in the past year?
A: In 2019 we sold a Querari colt for R850 000 at the CTS January sale and a Silvano filly at the National Sales in Johannesburg, for R600 000. The filly (out of Bichette a Gr2 winner), has grown very well and is on the farm being broken-in for her new owner Mrs April Galespie.
Q: Please tell us about your journey with the stud and the history of the stud?
A: I started on Lammerskraal in August 1987 as a groom, when the stud was very basic and small. It has been a very long rewarding journey. The stud has developed into a very beautiful, very successful breeding and racing establishment. Although we cannot compete on General Stakes Earning due to averaging only about 80 runners per annum, we are almost always in the top couple of farms when it comes to percentage stakes winners to runners and winners to runners.
We have produced many grade one winners including two Horse Of The Year winning colts YARD-ARM and CELTIC GROVE.
We have won the Broodmare of the Year Award three times with three different broodmares: Fashing, Akinfeet and Strawberry Lane. Lammerskraal was awarded the accolade of Outstanding Breeder in 2016. Since 2016 we produce over 40 foals per annum This is exciting, as undoubtedly, we will become more competitive from this year, as we expect in time to have more than 100 runners per annum. Western Winter (Gone West) purchased in the USA helped promote this stud in a very big way. He was Champion Sire many times and is a leading broodmare sire.
We break-in and do all the preliminary training of our two-year-olds we keep to race on the farm. They are prepared on an 800m flat track and a 1400m uphill track, but also do a fair amount of trail rides in between. There are on average approximately 10 horses racing in the studs colours every season.
The stud has sold many top priced horses, but our best year was 2016 when we sold 2 Dynasty colts at the Cape CTS sale for R4.5 million and R5.5 million and in April a Silvano colt for R4 million. In 2018, a filly we sold a filly for R5 million, breaking the South African record price for a yearling filly.
As mentioned above, I am very excited about the prospects of becoming more competitive since we will in future have more runners representing the stud. The goal is of course always to breed Grade 1 winners!
Q: What do you enjoy doing outside of racing and breeding? The decade is about to end. What were the big records you broke in the decade and what is on your bucket list for the next decade?
A: I tried to take up golf, which I proved to be quite good at. But it was extremely frustrating as I very often could not fulfil “my appointment” at the golf club. After a couple of years of so often battling to find the time, of feeling annoyed and frustrated, I just gave up. It was so much easier, to saddle my riding horse and go riding with my daughter on the farm – which I love too.
My personal wish would be to travel more. To visit top studs, attend famous races and leading sales worldwide.
Q: Please tell us about the most interesting book you have read recently or the most interesting movie you have watched? What did you like about it?
A: Although I do not often get to the movies, as much as I enjoy the outing, I really enjoyed The Green Book. I recently read THE CHOICE by Edith Eger, who survived the Holocaust. A very powerful story of how a sixteen-year girl survives the camps and her life story thereafter. Both stories relate to the power of the mind and how we can succeed with determination and belief in one’s self.
Published In The Impact 19 Issue, 2 Vol
Click To view the complete The Impact Library - http://theimpact.secretariatsworld.com/