where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2022-07-19 06:52:14  

Kenilworth Racing (Pty) Ltd (“KR”) is delighted to announce the appointment of Justin Vermaak (of Vermaak Equine) as the Head of Racing Operations with immediate effect.

In KR’s recent history, Racing Operations has been managed or overseen remotely under management agreements by third parties on KR’s behalf. Given the critical nature of this role KR as a matter of priority and urgency sought to bring this key position inhouse. Having Racing Operations locally based will go a long way to improving and enhancing communications and engagements with owners and various industry stakeholders.

The role of Racing Operations is extensive, and includes essential functions such as scheduling local fixtures, developing an optimal racing programme, initiating strategies and developments to increase the horse population in the province, developing initiatives to increase field sizes, working with trainers to ensure the calendar, programmes and initiatives are optimized, as well as general oversight of racing related activities on the ground.

The necessary skills and knowledge required are highly specialised and include having an outstanding knowledge of handicapping, race grading, programme development, the racehorse life cycle from breeding to racing and thereafter, the ability to communicate with regulators, handicappers, owners, trainers, punters, sponsors, and the public at large. And in Justin Vermaak, KR has secured the absolute ideal candidate.

Justin’s knowledge of all equine affairs (on both a global and local basis) is unparalleled. His love for racing started as a 4-year-old and has continued to grow exponentially ever since. Justin started his career in the equine industry as an assistant trainer, before going on to build a successful agency serving some of the country’s top jockeys. Thereafter, Justin was hired by the National Horse Racing Authority to serve as a handicapper, and was the youngest official handicapper in the world at the time, being only twenty-one years of age.

Thereafter, he was recruited by Dr Andreas Jacobs to serve as the Racing Manager of one of the country’s top breeders, Maine Chance Farms. Additionally, during this period, Justin successfully founded the racehorse syndication company Green Street Bloodstock, and so began his parallel path to becoming one of South Africa’s leading bloodstock agents, selling South African horses around the world under the “Vermaak Equine” brand. As a bloodstock professional and racing manager, he has had extensive dealings with most of the trainers, owners, operators and breeders throughout South Africa, and consequently will be able to provide the perfect link between the industry role players and KR as the operator.

Justin will be exclusively focused on KR’s racing operations and will play a critical role in the renaissance and rebirth of racing in the Cape. Work has already begun on broadening the programme to cater for the current horse population in the Western Cape, and developing exciting new festivals and concepts, with the aim of attracting new horses, owners (local and international) and trainers to Cape Town. Justin will also help to oversee the continued upliftment of the grooms and work riders in the province, which has been a longstanding focus of KR over the years.

KR wishes Justin all the success and looks forward to sharing many more positive upcoming developments with all stakeholders in the near future.

Press Release 

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