Making Their Mark: Louis Le Metayer

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Louis Le Metayer | Astute Bloodstock

In this new series we sit down with a selection of Europeans making a significant impression in the Thoroughbred industry on foreign shores. Today we have France’s Louis Le Metayer in the hot seat.

Position: Astute Bloodstock, an  independent bloodstock agency.

Original Hometown: I grew up in a small village in the southern part of Normandy called Colombiers. It’s a region where horses are a very big part of the local culture. If you drive from Colombiers to Deauville (130km) you are pretty much guaranteed to see a stud farm, a racing yard, or an equestrian stable every three to four kilometres.

Current Hometown: Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia.

Thing you miss the most about France (not including family and friends): The food and wine. Australia has very good food but I miss the saucisson as well as the good Bordeaux and Burgundy wines, which don’t give you a headache the next morning (less sulfites).

Hidden Talent: Handyman. I like building things and fixing stuff. Growing up on a farm there’s always a gate to fix, a new fence to build and a water trough to add. I also used to love dancing but my late night partying days are well and truly over.

Person in the industry you admire the most: I have great respect for most top trainers. I think it requires so many different skills and a lot of determination. I rode trackwork for five years all around the world and saw how hard it was. The top trainers have to be good horsemen, salesmen, team leaders, form analysts, businessmen and on top of that in Australia it all starts at 3 a.m. (still not sure why).

Training requires a deep understanding of horses, racing, programming and a touch of intuition to know when your horse is 110% fit. In Australia, trainers have to buy a lot of yearlings on spec. and the financial pressure would be tough. Those who succeed while finding time to build a family have all of my respect.

Three dinner guests: Chris Waller, Andre Fabre, and John Gosden.

Best thing about a career in the Thoroughbred industry: Being involved in an exhilarating global sport and meeting fascinating people from all walks of life. Most of my clients are successful entrepreneurs and they all have an interesting story. Working with animals and spending time outdoors. Traveling and doing something that I am so passionate about.

Favourite racehorse: Peintre Celebre (Nureyev) was the horse that got me hooked. I was 16 years of age at the time and the way he won the French Derby and Arc in the same year was very impressive. Recently outside of the obvious Winx (Aus) (Street Cry {Ire}) and Black Caviar (Aus) (Bel Esprit {Aus}), I think Sepoy (Aus) (Elusive Quality) was a unique 2-year-old sprinter.

Piece of advice for someone starting out: Start with some extended hands on experience. Get your hands dirty, learn how to ride (if you can) as it will get you a job anywhere in the world. Plus, it’s a lot of fun. Work at least a year for a top stud farm and a year for a leading trainer. Breeding and racing are so tightly linked that you need to understand both. Then travel, see the world, learn different techniques.

Make friends with people of your age group in the industry as they will become your allies later on but also try to build a relationship with some industry leaders at the same time. Seek their guidance and their opinion on any industry debate or hot topic then make your own assessment of the situation.

Go and inspect all the best stallions every year. Try to identify what sets them apart from the others. Watch all the Group 1 races in your part of the world. Then work at least one year for an auction house in order to understand the business side of the industry and to meet more people.

Be curious, read the TDN daily, keep an open mind. Then chose which branch of the industry you are the most passionate about and go hard at it.

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