The farm, which is in striking distance of some of South Africa’s top stallions, is owned by Johann and Kathy Du Plessis. Waboomsvlei is the biggest farm in the Pietersfontein area, and is in an area known largely for its grape production.
The stud, a 1280 hectare property, will be represented at this week’s Suncoast KZN Yearling Sale for the first time.
Waboomsvlei (waboom being the wood which was used to make wagon wheels) will offer an Antonius Pius filly (consigned by Riverton Stud as agent) out of the farm’s resident broodmare Glittering. The latter, a three time winning descendant of legendary broodmare La Troienne, is a full-sister to former Gr2 Oaks winner Gleaming Sky. The filly’s sire Antonius Pius has enjoyed a fine trot with his runners lately – with all three of his runners winning at Kenilworth recently.
Glittering is one of a handful of mares currently residing on the stud, with other mares including the well bred Royal Academy daughter Lempicka. The latter has produced a Seventh Rock colt, which is the apple of Johann’s eye, and for whom he has great hopes. Another well bred mare on the farm is Temora – a three parts sister to former Horse Of The Year Yard-Arm.
Interestingly enough, the mares are joined on the farm by former Equus Champion Ice Cube. The former champion 2yo looks an absolute picture, and is clearly thriving at Waboomsvlei.
Johann admits to have been overwhelmed by a number of racing people who have done much to assist him in the industry, and singles out Maine Chance Farms’ John Slade, Johan Loftus, and Duncan and Natasha Barry as being particularly helpful.
A former top work rider, Johann’s late father Dries Du Plessis was the Chairman Of The Owners and Trainers Organisation at the Vaal. Dries, a huge racing enthusiast, was involved in insurance, and his company was the first to get involved with the insurance of livestock. Dries Du Plessis also enjoyed owning racehorses, with his performers including the 18 time winner Quick Time (trained by Stanley Greeff). Another horse raced by Dries was Wise Queen – herself no star on the track, but a highly successful broodmare. Now deceased, Wise Queen produced three stakes winners including Gr3 winner Wise King and the top-class mare Wise Dame. The latter is the dam of Gr2 Merchants winner Royal IQ and Gr1 filly My Kazzie, and Wise Dame is also second dam of top-class filly Schiffer.
Johann spent the early part of his childhood living next door to champion trainer Stanley Greeff in Port Elizabeth. He would ride work for Stanley, and later rode for then trainer Lynton Ryan (who has since given the Du Plessis plenty of pedigree information). However, the Du Plessis family later moved to Gauteng – which Johann admits was something of a shock to his system!
He began working for trainer John Nicholson, partnering, among others, the July winner Beau Art in work. Following his stint with Nicholson, Johann spent a year living with champion trainer Jean Barnard.
After matric, Johann joined the army, choosing to work out his service with the cavalry. Among the prominent racing personalities who were in the cavalry with Johann were Lionel Cohen, Mike Azzie, Alfie Little, Alec Laird, Mark Sham and Paul Lafferty.
After his stint in the army, Johann spent time with trainers Spike Lerena and Nic Van Tonder, the latter proving a particular inspiration to the young Johann, who spent four years with Van Tonder, prior to the latter’s tragic demise. Amongst the Van Tonder stars were Port Pegasus – winner of the Administrator’s Classic (now Gr1 SA Classic) and Clairwood Winter Handicap (now Gr1 Champions Cup). Johann remembers Port Pegasus, a son of Trocadero, as a highly strung colt, who need his sheep’s constant companionship to keep him sweet!
Battling to make a living for himself and his then girlfriend, Johann reluctantly left racing for a time, and began his own flooring business. This took Johann to China, where the Du Plessis still visit annually as he still has an interest as a flooring industry.
A keen bowls player, Johann won a gold medal in the sport at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi. Admitting that he is a highly competitive man, Johann played bowls for South Africa for 12 years, and enjoyed it hugely. Due to his long involvement in China, Johann would love to become involved with trading of horses with Chinese Horse Club.
Waboomsvlei was purchased four years ago. The large and accommodating house, situated just behind the paddocks, has a tremendous view of the mountains, from where the farm receives all its water supplies. Surrounding by wild pear trees, the Waboomsvlei farm house could not be situated in more beautiful settings.
Currently the front paddock boards the mares, and Ice Cube, while the recently weaned foals are in a paddock boarding next to the farm house. Johann uses Equi-feed, and grows his own lucerne and oat crops.
He is also extending his stable block to include a medical room, while filling up the farm’s lunging ring for pre-sale training.
It cost the Du Plessis, who have two children, over R1 million to repair the house, and establish it to their satisfaction, as the original building had no real structure.
The magnificent settings, and stunning tranquillity, however, meant that the price was well worth it.
An man who is passionate about horse-racing, and who is inspired by stories such as SASCOC Triple Crown winner Louis The King, Johann Du Plessis is determined to breed Grade One winners.