JUSTIN Vermaak’s Green Street Bloodstock had a Listed winner in Celtic Voyager (Vercingetorix) and a Gr1-placed runner in Crimson King (Dynasty) on Gold Cup Day and he announced today that Celtic Voyager will be exported to Singapore.

“Celtic Voyager will be joining trainer James Peters and we have a bunch of Argentine horses starting their careers there as well. It’s been a challenge with lack of travel due to Covid-19, but we have built a nice group of clients for him from Australia, UK and mainly Singapore so hopefully we can help grow that further.

“Peters’ Hardwicke racing, a few of our clients in Singapore and some old Green Street members will be re-syndicating Celtic Voyager for the rest of his career.”

Celtic Voyager brought up 94 winners for Green Street Bloodstock, who recently cut its string down to 12 runners and will be phasing out slowly as a syndication company.

“Our current runners will get us to the 100-mark,” said Vermaak. “We have Leopold, Herodotus, Action Packed, Purple Cloud and Crimson King among them, half of them stakes winners or stakes placed.

Vermaak Equine will be focusing on exporting other good racing prospects to Singapore, where stakes are very good. Celtic Voyager will be leaving for Singapore with War Room and Vermaak said: “He’ll be able to compete in his class for $250,000 to $300,000 as opposed to facing horses like Kasimir and Van Halen here for R100,000.

“I have been assisting James Peters where I can in sourcing horses for from Argentina and South Africa. Once our protocol issues are resolved, we’ll see an increase in exports all-round, including to Singapore, and that will be good for our local industry too.

For now, Vermaak will be focusing on bloodstock and stallion management via Vermaak Equine, in which he already wears a few hats.

SA racing’s hardship, this last year especially, has forced many thoroughbred entrepreneurs to rethink and adapt their business models and Vermaak told Turf Talk: “I stopped buying horses to syndicate commercially for Green Street at the back end of last year. The low stakes levels are obviously crippling for anyone trying to build a business from racing. Making 5% commission on these prize levels mean you can have multiple winners and feature winners, but you still have to pay in after overheads.

“I support the changes in South African racing and I think MOD will do well, but for now I have to look at best options to keep Vermaak Equine growing. Hopefully stakes come back to normal and we can revisit the situation.”

He added: “When Green Street was started it was met by many giggles and smirks, especially when starting with R20-50k purchases. Just five years later we have 94 winners on the board, multiple stakes winners and multiple Gr1 placed performers. I think what we have done has been nothing short of miraculous in a climate of low stakes and little to no export opportunity.

“I have always maintained that I wished SAF had 50 Green Street operations, but as we have seen by other entities trying to go the syndicate route since our inception, it’s easier said than done!”

Vermaak Equine has also been assisting major owner Laurence Wernars and Justin has been reappointed at Maine Chance Farms.

“Andreas Jacobs asked me to come back on board on a consultancy basis helping with the racing string, but mainly tackling bloodstock and sales plus marketing for Maine Chance, which I was glad to do. I have always enjoyed a strong relationship with him and the farm and he is including me in some trading opportunities for his horses racing in the UK (Newsells Park Stud) and Germany (Gestut Fahrof).

“I also do all the buying for Laurence Wernars, yearlings and horses in training, purchases and sales of mares and matings for mares. I bought Temple Grafin for him after her third in the Majorca Stakes and she won the Gr1 Garden Province on July day. She’ll be going to his stallion New Predator, who stands at Bush Hill. “So those are my two full-time jobs now, which doesn’t leave much time for running syndicates, although I must say it has been great fun and we managed to get many newcomers involved, some of whom are now bigger investors.

“Syndication will always have a role to play, it’s a good way of attracting owners and it obviously gets easier to manage and more lucrative when the stakes pot grows bigger.”  


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