The Haras du Buff has been breeding thoroughbreds for around a hundred years. In the early twentieth century French racing and breeding became increasingly international thanks in particular to major U.S. investors such as Vanderbilt, Belmont, Duryea and Widener. A former oil tycoon in Russia, Leon Mantacheff copied them and set himself up at the Buff and was the first to bring it acclaim. Between the two wars Mantacheff became the head of a team experiencing success at the highest level. The main protagonists were Bahadur and Transvaal, the latter still famous for winning the Grand Prix de Paris in 1924 at the astronomical odds of 120/1 (sic!).
Another page in the history of the Buff was written with the excellent national hunt breeding operation developed by André Michel in the fifties and sixties. There are countless top class jumpers who carried the pink silks with grey seams to victory, mainly trained by René Pelat, Jean-François Daubin and Bernard Sécly. It was the latter however who gave André Michel his most prestigious victory with a Classic win on the flat from Valiant Heart in the Grand Prix de Paris in 1980, echoing the success of Transvaal fifty six years earlier… As a tribute a race is now named after André Michel at Auteuil.
For a quarter century the Metayer family has now been in charge of the Haras du Buff’s destiny under the banner of Neustrian Associates, a commercial structure created in the late eighties by Pierre-Charles Le Metayer in association with Yann Houyvet and Florent Couturier. After some time the partnership dissolved with Florent Couturier setting himself up on the neighboring site of Bois-Carrouges and leaving Pierre-Charles Le Metayer to carry on by himself and to combine his work as a breeder and as a bloodstock agent until his tragic early death in 1999. His widow Edwige Le Metayer most courageously then took up the torch with the support of her sons and can now be proud of the progress and the results that they have achieved.
Pierre Champion (Book “Haras de Normandie”, Edition ArgentiK)