In relatively less time, Justin Vermaak has become a widely recognised name in the bloodstock business. At a very early age, this debonair man has carved quite a niche for himself and has come to be recognised as one of the fastest rising stars. While a lot of people drool over his hot exterior, practically everyone swears by his intellect and penchant for the horse racing business.
An avid follower of sports, since his childhood, Justin played Cricket and Hockey as a kid. Very soon he shifted his focus and got involved with horse training as a young age of 14. That developed a lifelong obsession with the game. Rising through the ranks through sheer dedication and hard work, Justin has earned his place among the top-notch names in the business.
His venture Green Street Bloodstock is famous for bringing in some of the biggest drafts over the years in the CTS RTR. Over the years they have sold some really beautiful and iconic horses at the CTS. Once again, they are bringing one of the largest drafts to this year's edition of the CTS Ready To Run Sale.
We were curious about their ideologies and thought process behind the selection, breeding, and training of these beauties. He divulges some details in the following interview:
Q: As one of the top vendors for the CTS sale can you tell us a bit more about your draft and your highlight Lots?
A: It is always hard to highlight certain lots, they are all very early in their careers, but so far we have a Trippi colt who is doing all the right things at the track. I would say him along with Sovereign Rose and Lucky Seven look like great “Breeze-Up” buys. Tripple Jet is the Trippi colt, he is a very late foal so still has plenty to come which is exciting. He is by a top sire and from an Oaks winning daughter of our champion broodmare sire Jet Master.
Sovereign Rose is a full sister to Winter Oaks winning Duchess Of Bourbon, who is owned by the American based Bourbon Lane Stables. She is medium-sized like the family but has plenty of class. Lucky Seven is by Seventh Rock, a sire who gets them to come early. He is forward and well grown and maybe a bit ahead of the crop for the early juvenile races.
Q: Could you please tell us a bit more about your association with this sale? How long have you been showing at the sale? –
A: I have been buying from this sale for five years now. Last year I pin-hooked a colt for R25,000, which was sold at this sale for R300,000. He was the most expensive colt I ever sold. He ended up running third in a Gr1 as a two-year-old and just about tops the Ready To Run log for the race this season. He is also by Seventh Rock and is called Rock The Globe, he was sold by Normandy Stud. It is my first year consigning a draft under my own name. The horses are owned by clients and breeders who did not sell earlier in the year.
Q: As a bloodstock agent yourself you have an eye for good horses, which is why people choose to buy this hand-picked 2YOs from your draft. What is your process of choosing horses for your draft? And what is your process when you go down to buy a horse at the yearling sales?
A: The bulk of them are owned by breeders that have not sold their horses earlier in the year. Some are also bought by clients at other auctions and placed on this sale with the intention of trying to sell for a profit. We had applications for about 30 horses but the idea was always to try and have a high-quality draft as possible so I narrowed it down to the best bred and conformed ones. When buying yearlings with the intention to place on the breeze-up sale, it is always vital to find horses that are well-bred but from non-commercial stud farms or horses that are immature and have improvement to come, this can help spin a profit at the breeze ups.
Q: Please tell us about the most expensive horse you've ever bought?
A: In SAF yearling prices are not as high, it would be around R1.3m in SAF. I have brokered sales of mares internationally for up to $500 000.
Q: You became passionate about horses at a young age and have made a life that still involves horses every step of the way. I've read somewhere that you get on the plane almost 100 times a year. Do you ever feel that you would like to swap this life for another?
A: Not as many as 100, closer to 80. When I was younger it was more fun but it has got old quickly. I like to travel but would prefer to stay at home more, unfortunately in SAF we are hindered by African Horse Sickness and trade is very limited, as a trader, that means I have to go to other places to work.
I would much prefer to stay in SAF more and trade from here but it is not possible. Horse Racing is also a global game so it means getting to a lot of places. It is a great sport and takes you everywhere if you work hard enough. I couldn’t imagine being involved with anything else.
Q: With 2020 fast approaching, where do you see South African racing in the next ten years? And are the top two things on your bucket list to achieve by 2030?
A: If SAF doesn’t get it export protocols sorted out within the next few years, then in the next ten years the industry will be a fraction of what it is now and has been. We have a beautiful country with exceptional horsemen and great breeders, but we need to open up export so that we can compete with other nations in terms of mare quality and shuttle stallions etc. We have people here that love the industry and throw huge financial weight behind it despite the lack of trade, opening up would show SAF’s strengths more fairly and regularly. My own syndication company Green Street International (GSI) is on the way to reaching 100 winners, I would say on the bucket list for GSI would be to have our first Gr.1 winner and also to have a winner of a group race in Singapore and a winner at the Dubai Carnival where we will be racing in 2021.
On a personal bloodstock note, I have a great client that I have been buying horses for an I just hope to have had many a Gr.1 winner purchased for him by 2030.
Published In The Impact 23 Issue, 2 Vol
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