12 Questions: Sebastien Desmontils


Sebastien Desmontils |
Laura Green/Tattersalls

First job in the Thoroughbred industry?

Summer job as a stud groom at Highland Farm in Paris, Kentucky, that was managed by Peter Kirwan in 1999. Everything looked big and new at the time especially the Clydesdales that were kept on the farm not far from the Thoroughbreds!

Biggest influence on your career?

My friends Benoit Jeffroy and Gabriel Leenders. Unlike me the two of them are born and raised in this game and they have been keen to share their knowledge and experience with me since I decided to move full time in the Thoroughbred business as well as many other people that I have met or worked with along the road.

Favorite racehorse of all time, and why?

Has to be the unbeaten champion filly Zarkava. Only thing small about her was her size. Big trainer, big owner, big jockey, big heart… massive turn of foot. Even her legacy will be big with her son Zarak that appears to be a serious improver at stud.

Who will be champion first-season sire in 2023?

If I knew I should be leading this game but if I have to guess I would say Invincible Army as I thought his yearlings that I have seen were eye catching looking sharp and ready to go with substance.

Greatest race in the world?

L'Arc de Triomphe.

If you could be someone else in the industry for a day who would it be, and why?

Willie Mullins for his ability to operate his business at the top of this game, selecting, training top-class horses year after year and always appearing as a proper gentleman that loves his sport.

Emerging talent in the industry (human)?

Christopher Head has all the ingredients to become one of Chantilly's leading trainers in the years to come.

Name a horse TDN should have made a Rising Star, and didn't?

Went through Thursday's edition and would strongly agree on the fact that Rajapour should have been one!

Under-the-radar stallion?

Zelzal covered a big crop of 189 mares in 2022 at €15 000 LF and has done really well so far with very limited crops and average quality mares.

Friday night treat?

Sharing a good dinner with my wife and friends at home testing nice wines talking about racing and breeding.

Guilty pleasure outside racing?

Hunting, Shooting and Fishing

Race I wish I'd been there for…

Arcangues's win in the 1993 Breeders' Cup Classic at 133-1 in which my dad had bought a small share following his syndication by Agent Frederic Sauque at the time. I have watched the replay so many times…. A lot more than my dad who never had much interest in horse racing and did not realize the performance that this was to win this race for a horse trained in Europe.

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