VERMAAK Equine’s year-long partnership with leading owner Laurence Wernars is starting to yield the kind of returns Wernars was hoping for when he put Justin Vermaak in charge of his
racing and breeding operations.

Wernars’ pair of the filly Thumbs Up (Gimmethegreenlight) and colt Puerto Manzano
(ARG, Seek Again), dead-heated in the Wernars silks in Race 1 over 1200m at Turffontein n Saturday— something you won’t see at a racetrack often.

They are trained by Johan Janse Van Vuuren, who predicted that he’d have a good day and also saddled Wernars’ Noble Tune gelding Copper Mountain to win a Graduation Plate over 1200m later on in the afternoon.

Vermaak said: “We work as a team, Laurence, Johan and I, and we put plenty of effort in studying pedigrees and matings, looking at bloodstock from yearlings to broodmares to horses in training purchases.

“We bought the graded winner Temple Grafin (Duke Of Marmalade) in a package deal with Thumbs Up. Temple Grafin won us the Gr1 Garden Province Stakes soon after that. Thumbs Up is not in that class, but she is well bred, and has a Listed place to Erik The Red to her credit. Johan and I will box clever to get her some black type.”

As reported., Temple Grafin has been sent to Wernars’ stallion New Predator (New Approach) at Bush Hill, and most of his other mares are at Ridgemont Highlands, including black-type mares Mighty High (Gr1 winner), Crystal Glamour, She’s A Giver and Negroamara.

“Ridgemont have 15 of our mares, they’re doing a great job,” he said.


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