Wernars And The Winners

Maidens to Gr1 winners - they all count!

When it comes to horseracing and breeding, few match the passion and the raw rands and cents investment of Studio 88 Group Chairman, Laurence Wernars.

His familiar red, white and black silks have enjoyed a terrific season so far – and it’s far from over, with Sprinkles and Shangani running in the Gr1 Woolavington 2000 and the Lonsdale Stirrup Cup respectively, at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Saturday.

Laurence also has 5 of the 49 currently standing 2022 Gr1 Hollywoodbets Durban July entries, and is looking to finish the term with a flourish.

Laurence receives his Special Award from ROA CEO Natalie Turner (Pic -JC Photos)

The successful businessman, who feeds about 200 horses, with 110 in training – mostly in partnerships-and approximately another 90 in total on the farm, was the recipient of a Special Award at Saturday evening’s Highveld Feature Season Awards function at Melrose Arch in Johannesburg.

“What an unexpected honour, and I must say, most humbling experience to have received this award. Simply, horseracing is my true passion and love, so to be awarded for something that consumes my every waking moment – is surreal!” he told the Sporting Post on Monday.

While he is kept very busy with a highly successful business to run, he admits that he lives to watch and participate in the game.

“An incomplete day is one without talking, watching and punting horses. It also gives me great pride that we at Studio 88 are able to support the Groom initiative. Their role is integral to the well-being of the magnificent animals that give horse racing enthusiasts so much pleasure.”

Laurence adds quickly that he is also cognisant of the fact that much of his racing accomplishments needs to be attributed to all of his trainers – especially Johan Janse van Vuuren and Paul Peter, who have been responsible for producing the most winners. He also mentions his jockeys Keegan de Melo, Warren Kennedy and Gavin Lerena, who put in the time and effort for the various stables that in turn help them to win the amount of races that they do.

“I’d also like to acknowledge Justin Vermaak for streamlining my racing portfolio. His management of my inventory, buying expertise,  and implementation of a more efficient racing portfolio is very evident – the results have been a game changer.”

“The acknowledgement from the Racehorse Owners Association on Saturday evening has to be shared with the many people that have contributed to my achievement in horse racing. I am truly humbled and thank the Association from the bottom of my heart for this acknowledgement of my passion.

Like any owner, Laurence is thrilled to be competitive at the elite level.

“Gr1 is the super league, but a maiden winner also gives me plenty of pleasure,” he adds.

While he has enjoyed many trebles in his three decades plus in horseracing, the Wernars four-timer on Saturday 26 March 2022, which included a Gr2 and Gr3 trophy, was a milestone.

The promising Karangetang wins on 26 March in the Wernars finery (Pic – JC Photos)

“While I have a professional team behind me, if it wasn’t for my best friend and major partner in a lot of our horses, Harry Willson, this achievement wouldn’t have been possible,” Laurence told the Sporting Post at the time.

On the awards evening, it came as no surprise that Rain In Holland was announced Highveld Horse Of The Season

The three-year-old daughter of Duke Of Marmalade has been a revelation this season, winning all three leg of the Wilgerbosdrift Triple Tiara as well as the Grade 2 Gerald Rosenburg Stakes against older horses.

Sean Tarry played tribute to the filly. “She is a true professional and easy to work with. I would also like to thank Gaynor Rupert who is a pleasure to train for.

“There is no pressure, and she leaves you alone to get on with your job.”

The rest of the night belonged to trainer Paul Peter and runners from his yard. He was named Champion Trainer while Equine Awards went to Maharanee, Master Archie, MK’s Pride and Astrix.

Master Archie, winner of the Gr1 Computaform Sprint claimed two awards, Champion Three-Year-Old Colt/Gelding and Champion Sprinter.

The individual winners:

Champion two-year-old filly


Champion two-year-old colt/gelding


Champion three-year-old filly

Rain In Holland

Champion three-year-old colt/gelding

Master Archie

Champion Older Horse

MK’s Pride

Champion Sprinter

Master Archie

Champion Middle Distance Horse


Champion Stayer


Special Award:

Laurence Wernars

Work Rider of the Season

Sam Mosia

Champion Apprentice Jockey

Jeffrey Syster

Champion Breeder

Wilgerbosdrift (Pty) Limited and Mauritzfontein

Champion Jockey

Warren Kennedy

Champion Trainer

Paul Peter

Champion Owner

Drakenstein Stud (Nom: Mrs GA Rupert)

Horse Of The Season

Rain In Holland


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1 comment on “Wernars And The Winners

  1. Frankie Zackey says:

    Great Man, absolute Warrior and sick for the game… Laurence Wernars now needs a few July and Met winners, preferably more July winners…if there’s 1 race that every owner breeder trainer or jockey wants to win is the July.. Let’s hope that the Trainers that he’s supported have the horse to do so in the very near future…to win any group race is special but the JULY is just one race you wanna win if you’re involved in the horseracing industry in anyway….

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