A Conversation with French Bloodstock Agent, Jean-Pierre Deroubaix

Have you ever wondered what exactly is the job of a Bloodstock Agent?

smJPDeroubaix8A1A135127 August 2015, France ~ Jean-Pierre Deroubaix began by studying veterinary medicine before his father, who managed Haras de Bois Roussel, (today the Wildenstein family’s stable), encouraged him to travel the world. This first trip took him to Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, the USA, and South America before he returned to France to work at Haras d’Etreham in Normandy. He then started working with bloodstock agent Paul Nataf, a founder of the Horse France Bloodstock Agency, where he was employed before becoming a partner from 1970 to 1990. In 1990, he created the FBA Agency (French Bloodstock Agency) through which he provides full-service racing support and connections among other projects.

Horsereporter recently caught up with the globe-trotting Deroubaix to ask him just exactly what is the expectation of a Bloodstock Agent?

HR: You have long been involved with the French Bloodstock Agents Federation (AFC) – Association Française des Courtiers de Chevaux de Galop. Now that you have been elected President, what are your plans and what will you do to energize the group?
JPD: For 12 years I have been the Secretary General of AFC (French Bloodstock Agents Federation). This year, 2015, I was elected President. AFC had about 30 members, some of them not very active and I decided to wake up the Association.

HR: What are your plans to revitalize the membership?
JPD: My first action was to invite four new members, young and active bloodstock agents, to join the AFC. Then I decided to improve information to the public and to the existing customers to explain what is the role of a Bloodstock Agent. I also created commissions of three to four AFC members to meet with the French Jockey Club (France Galop), the Ministry of Agriculture, the Trainers Federation, and the Breeders Association and to attend to a maximum of committees.

HR: Out of the 30+ members, how many work with race horses? What is the main form of horse purchase for the agents?
JPD: Most of the members of AFC are specialists of one breed. Some of them purchase horses mainly at auction sales, others deal privately (horses in training), and others are specialists in stallion management (shares and nominations).

HR: Where is most of your client base?
JPD: Some of us work mainly in France or in Europe; a few of us work at an International level.

HR: Do you keep a high standard of knowledge in the group?
JPD: It is important to explain our job clearly. We know the horses (conformation, pedigrees, performances), and we know the people (owners, trainers, jockeys). We are there to help the customers to choose a specific horse according to the final targeted use of the horse (a racehorse only for fun, or a racehorse to win a Gr1 race etc.), and according to the budget.

HR:How many race courses do you have in France?
JPD: In France we are lucky to have 240 racetracks, more than the rest of Europe put together. There are also many different type of racehorses: Trotters, English Thoroughbred (flat races), Purebred Arabians (flat races), Anglo-Arabians (flat and steeple chase), and half-bred horses (for hurdle, steeple chase, or cross-country races) .

HR: Can you explain what is the next step once a candidate horse is chosen?
JPD: We can valuate the horse, organize a veterinary inspection, help the customer to choose the trainer and/or the breeding farm. We help breeders to choose which mare to purchase according to the type of use. A big strong mare with a perfect conformation will be a better choice if the customer is a commercial breeder who wants to sell the progeny at public sales. A mare with a perfect pedigree will suit a breeder willing to run her babies to win important races, even if the conformation is not perfect. The most beautiful horses are not always the best performers. We can help the breeders to choose the best stallions for their mares (pedigree, performance, conformation, popularity), and most of the members of AFC manage racing or breeding stables. As we travel a lot, we know the different type of horses, pedigrees, racetrack, methods of training and breeding, etc. We have foreign customers who base their horses in France and we can offer them an all-in-one service: Purchase/sales, management, insurance, choice of trainers, breeding farms, transportation etc. We keep the client updated daily about their horses in training or for breeding with photos and reports, and we centralize the bureaucracy of invoices, keeping fees, transportation, veterinary, and other expenses.

HR: Can you tell us about some of your clients?
JPD: We have purchased/sold more than 50 Gr1 Thoroughbred winners and we are the number one bloodstock agent for Purebred Arabian Horses. I work for members of the Al Thani family (Qatar), and I am the racing manager of HH Sultan Qaboos (Royal Cavalry of Oman). During the last three years I sold the champion stallion DAHESS to HH Sheikh Joaan Al Thani (Qatar), and I also purchased for him the champion race horses DAHOR DE BRUGERE and AL MAMUN MONLAU ( Khayla Classic Gr1). Also in the last three years for the Royal Cavalry of OMAN I purchased 12 different stakes group winners including the champions AL MOUHANNAD, JOSCO DU CAYROU, and DJET TAOUY.

HR: What fees are involved in this complete service?
JPD: The clients agree to pay us a fee if they receive good service. We are consultants/advisors/specialists and we are paid for our job. The main point, in my opinion, is to keep people involved (sellers, purchasers) and clearly informed about how much we charge and who pays whom. We can charge a commission, a percentage on the price paid for the horse, or a fixed amount. The sellers and the purchasers will be confident, happy, and willing to work with a bloodstock agent if they know that they receive a plus, a first class service, and if they know, prior to the transaction, how much they will have to pay.

HR: Tell us a bit about your organization?
JPD: I own two Bloodstock agent companies, Agence FBA (French Bloodstock Agency), based near Paris, and Agence FIPS, based in Normandy. We are seven people working in many divisions of the horse industry, and all together we are familiar with many types of horse breeds. Our group can manage or arrange management of racing and breeding stables, transport and insurance services. We are the consultant/advisor to seven foreign Jockey Clubs from concept, planning and building of racetracks, breeding farms, stables, import/export regulation, and rules of racing.

HR: We understand that you also represent entertainment acts and commercial enterprises.
JPD: We organize horse shows (Lorenzo, Mario Luraschi, Clemence Faîvre, Jean-François Pignon) all around the world. We are the commercial representative of many companies producing specific equipment such as stables, PVC rail, starting gates, photo finish, and synthetic racing and training surfaces.

Thank you Jean-Pierre for sharing the many facets of a Bloodstock Agent. We will look forward to seeing you on the rail.

~ To contact Jean Pierre Deroubaix: www.fba.fr