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Camargue Stud Returns To KZN Midlands

Brett Van Laun revives a legacy

When many other farms are reducing stock and even dispersing in these tough economic times which hasn’t been helped with the arrival of Covid19, Brett Van Laun is in the process of re-establishing Camargue Stud which formerly stood in Mooi River.

Brett has revived his families legacy, this time in the picturesque Caversham Valley in the KZN Midlands, which is situated in the vicinity between Lidgetton and that of the famed Michaelhouse school.

Camargue Stud located in the heart of KZN Midlands

This particular area of the KZN Midlands, just south of Nottingham Road is no stranger to producing a good horse, with the likes of Gr1 winner Spiced Gold (the dam of Gr1 winner Chimichuri Run), Dubai winner Journeyman and even the recent Captain Tatters born and grazed on its lush mountainous lands with good water frontage and plenty of grazing.

When asked about how he feels about the future of the Thoroughbred in South Africa, Brett replies: “I always swim upstream and see this as a huge opportunity to invest in the industry at rock bottom prices. I’m also hugely optimistic about the [Thoroughbred] industry and believe “I’m buying a share in the trough!”

An enthusiastic Brett says he loves the area and believes the results speak for themselves, “especially when you look at the Breeders titles and stats from small numbers in this province! Horses are in my blood and my younger years were spent growing up on a stud farm in Mooi River named Camargue Stud. I have continued my late Dad’s legacy and have kept the name Camargue Stud.”

Brett signing for a purchase at the CTS Mare Sale earlier this year

Brett says he currently has accumulated 23 mares for the farm, “and still looking for more but we are concentrating on quality not quantity. We are boarding for clients and are honoured to have the owners of #kznbred Gr1 winners War Of Athena And Battle Force [both by Act of War], owned by Dr Rose Waterman-Wenzel and Roy Wenzel, Allan Mellor, the Step aside Syndicate as well as the Buffalo Syndicate all supporting us.

“I’ve bought shares in Act of War, Captain of All and a service to Futura and Oratorio on the Cape Breeders auction. We are however still doing matings, so we are looking for shares in more stallions.”

When asked what foals were expected for their first breeding season, Brett replies that he is focusing on Stakes Winners or Stakes Producers. “We currently have three mares in foal to Querari – all Stakes Winners or Stakes producers – two in foal to Captain of All [the sire of Gr1 winner Linebacker], again out of Stakes winners, two Black Type mares in foal to What A Winter, three mares in foal to Act Of War and a Jet Master mare in foal to Erupt. We have a National Assembly Stakes Winner in foal to Canford Cliffs who is producing Group winners overseas.”

Arabian Empress is due to foal to Querari,

A farm rich in racing and breeding history, Brett provides a successful background into the Camargue Stud of old. “We started Camargue Stud in the 1980’s at our peak we had 120 brood mares and bred some great horses such as ARCSA award winning filly Special Key, and Gr1 winner Shoe Express for the Late Roy Eckstein. We also bred Lupine Lady who broke the 13 year old course record at Newmarket over 1000 meters. We produced two Broodmares Of The Year with KZN Breeders, namely Secret Key and Forewarned.

Brett concludes, “We are passionate about horses and will be focused on individual attention whilst doing boarding of mares, yearling preparations, spelling, pre-training, backing of horses and working with problematic race horses.

In todays day and age with the modernisation of farms and the ability to provide immediate communication and experiences online, which has never been more prominent than it is now, Brett says that he wants their clients to feel part of the whole breeding experience and have provided for it.

“A good foundation in life is so important! Let this foundation be the start of many champions! The new Camargue Stud foaling barn!” – Brett Van Laun

“We have set up Webcams to watch live foalings, and will send regular videos of horses to our owners. Clients also have the opportunity to come and stay in our guest cottages so that they can be part of the great life a horse enjoys and thrives on at Camargue Stud!”

Congratulations to Brett and we wish him many winners in the future!

  • Thoroughbred Breeders Association of South Africa

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6 comments on “Camargue Stud Returns To KZN Midlands

  1. Johann Liebenberg says:

    Well done to Brett and the team. Fantastic to see.

    My five cents if I may. The breeding industry will continue to struggle if we do not create opportunities for horses. Not wanting to jump on the Flamingo Park Kimberley closure again, but it is an example of a centre that created opportunities for lower rated horses and in most cases a second career for some. Horses not selling on sales or not fetching big money usually found a home on the sand. Question is: what happens to these horses now and how much pressure is on the breeding farms because they cannot sell off stock??

    The Northern Cape contributed handsomely to the Oppenheimer fortune surely with the authority they have in our industry, there should be some conversation in the background towards a revival of Flamingo Park and giving back to a region that has always been their home away from home. There is a place for the smaller centres, owners, trainers, grooms and other staff in this industry and can be seen as part of the backbone that keeps it alive. If managed well it can be a profit centre

    Referring to an earlier post regarding the totes I probably can echo the sentiment that no one will listen to this argument, but at least I have put it out there for what it is worth.

  2. M(artin)Gram(matica) says:

    Dear Johan please let sleeping dogs lie! Kimberley was a terrible venue for man and beast and closing it was a blessing. You mention it created opportunities for lower ranked horses and you are correct, however those horses are now well catered for by the good people of Gold Circle with their poly track fare. The last poly track meeting held on Monday had a qualified maiden plate ( read strugglers ) and a host of MR 63s, 65s and a 66. Take off Moodleys MR magic 10 point “kul jou hier kul jou daar en siedaar!” and in effect the MR53-56 hacks are well catered for. The vast majority of that bunch of disappointments belong in a different equine discipline but that is an entirely different debate for another day.

    Kimberley does not deserve reviving. If you want to give horses a second stab at redemption then a logical and more workable option would be to re-establish the Vaal Sand track.

  3. Johann Liebenberg says:

    Hi Martin I respect your views, but must say I disagree with your view on Flamingo. We owned a number of horses there and they were always in good care and health.

    Flamingo was used as an example, I am sure we can name a few centres that could be revived to accommodate the void. Point I am trying to make is that we should get at least another centre in the line so it opens the industry for investment. Again stating that I am not necessarily going to invest in horses with seemingly lower capability to run in strong centres like Cape Town, KZN, Gauteng and that puts the breeders and the entire value chain within the industry under pressure.

    Our horses are in KZN now and I agree 100% that Gold Circle went out of their way to accommodate the Kimberley Trainers and horses, but it is also evident that the centre is “flooded” with horses and races are not often available for all ratings. That is no one in particular’s fault, just the nature of the situation at the moment.

    PE also used as an option which helps the situation and they have been very accommodating to ex Kimberley Trainers and Horses.

    Think it is good that we can at least have a chat about the different views, in the end we all want to see the industry surviving.

  4. waynefouche says:

    Please do not forget the Trainers who are now domiciled in Port Elizabeth!! Churning out winner after winner!! I would think that there are now more ex Kimberley runners in PE that in KZN.

  5. Editor says:

    Hi Brett – a note from Vivian Mansour:

    Brett, wishing you every success in reviving the Van Laun Legacy. May you and your family go from strength to strength in these difficult times. Good Luck from Vincent, Vivian and all the Mansour Family

  6. Donald Bradshaw says:

    Wish Brett everything of the best in his venture , I have a lot of respect for him in that he has always supported the ” smaller trainers ” through thick and thin !

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