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Louis Baudron: President of Auctav
Louis Baudron comes from a family steeped in racing history – both thoroughbred and trotter – as the grandson of Roger Baudron and Jean-Pierre Dubois. A multiple Group 1 winner as a rider, he then turned to training and found success in both equestrian disciplines. Baudron is also the chairman of French online auction house Auctav, which recently passed the one-year milestone.
Auctav has just celebrated its first anniversary. How would you sum up the first year of activity?
We are very happy with how the first year went. We have sold 155 horses, 22 have been sold for more than €100,000 and our turnover is €6,700,000. These numbers are from thoroughbreds and trotting horses.
We also had two horses running in Cheltenham which was very nice. More and more people are confident with the online system and it seems to work very well. It was very intense the first year because we started from scratch, including brand design, so it was a lot of work.
What was the highlight?
The Arab sale that we organized for Shadwell because it is very important to do something with this kind of entities. We are really proud to work for them. We also organized their brood mare sale in December and also a yearling sale afterwards. We had good photos and videos, so that helped build customer confidence.
What prompted you to get involved in the business?
It happened because a few years ago we had a private sale, but we found it was not easy to have a single date and so we had to find a better system to sell horses of all ages. The online platform is the future of the selling system because you want to sell an artist when they are at their best, and online you don’t have to wait.
The idea was to sell the horse at the right time, it allows us to organize a sale in less than a week so it’s very attractive for the seller and easier for the buyer.
Both established and new auction houses hold online auctions. Do you think it’s still a growing business?
Online sales are increasing, so it is very important to have the right support, whether from the market, customers or the media. If you don’t, there’s no trust in your solution, but if you provide the right information, people can buy with confidence.
We cannot fight against progress and we must follow what is happening around us, the proposed online auctions will allow the industry to move forward.
Were there many particular challenges?
We were all dealing with Covid this time last year but now it’s not just about having one sale a year we do it every day and so it’s about breaking the rules and making people confident . It was difficult.
And are there big ambitions?
We are organizing an obstacle sale [for National Hunt horses] at Haras de Rouges Terres at the end of August, when we have a sale of trotters a few days before [August 25]. It’s the first time for us, but we are sure that a few big owners and breeders will be present at the sales.
Auctav is also very involved in trotting sales. Is the market similar to that of thoroughbreds right now?
The main difference is value, but in the trotting business not many people want to sell their horses in training. We’re one of the biggest sellers of ready-to-race horses, so that’s a big part of our business.
We organize our own private sales for trotters because people are confident with the horses we sell. Sellers are really happy to be part of the new system, even [though] it’s online and they’re not very young, they just seem to love it!
You are also a trainer in your own right. How did the year start and are there any horses you are passionate about?
With the Thoroughbreds I work with David Cottin and we have Sans Bruit who won Grade 3 last year and hopefully this year too. He won at Auteuil two weeks ago and I think he is a horse to look forward to, especially as he is by my stallion Triple Threat.
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FIRST PUBLICATION AT 10:12 AM, APRIL 4, 2022