Julius Le Tutour: Head of the Trotting Temple
15 January 2022
Julius Le Tutour has been the head of the Parisian trotting racetracks (Vincennes and Enghien) since July 2021. He bears the responsibility of keeping the Vincennes track perfect throughout the Winter Meeting.
He gained his experience at Lyon racetracks. Son of a racecourse manager who has worked at multiple large racetracks, Le Tutour took up his new duties in Paris six months ago and explains the job is not without pressure. “Vincennes is still the temple of trotting, but I had thought it through. I'm 32 years old. For me, with my competitive nature, it was now or never”.
Since commencing his role, he has made his mark. Le Tutour has an eye on everything, and he pays attention to every detail. And the results speak for themselves: no complaints from the trainers and drivers and above all, offers a track that has never raced so fast. Records are broken almost at every meeting. “You have to treat it with real determination every day. For me, a trotting track must be considered like a grass track for gallopers with a lot of observation on a daily basis. Basically, the surface is ‘clinker’ (a residue of coal, a form of ash) but it is a living being that evolves every day according to climatic conditions and temperatures ”.
As a person he is down to earth, and his thoughts are all on his track. “You have to pamper it. My first approach was to learn all of its history from the two racetrack managers and listen to the trainers and drivers who know it so well”. And he has learned quickly who his worst enemies are: “Frost and snow. In theory, it creates a protective film if you don't touch it, but the humidity that is generated during thaw and when snow is cleared generates a very dirty track and you have to implement very precise and calibrated mechanical operations to control everything.” Not easy for Vincennes, worldwide known for the Winter Meeting!
The Vincennes and Enghien racetracks require 42 people for their maintenance including 15 for the Vincennes track alone. Julius Le Tutour is inspired by his team. “My greatest pleasure is the satisfaction of the pros but above all the satisfaction of my guys who get involved every day and sometimes at night when the weather conditions require it. When you see dedication in them, you see that they are committed and that is my goal”.
His career has not always been straight-forward: “I was trained in Cadre Noir in Saumur (very famous military equestrian school) and where, at that time, my ambition was to be an Olympic champion. And then life happens, the small injuries I incurred meant that I completely changed my options and without regret”.
With Paris hosting the next Olympic Games, it will be held at the gates of Vincennes in 2024. By then, Julius Le Tutour will have lived through three winter meetings and made the temple of the trotting a stadium where records will continue to be broken.
VINCENNES TRACK SPECIFICS
The racetrack is world famous. It is set over 42 hectares in the heart of the Bois de Vincennes. It was created in 1863 and its two tracks, left-handed, present several peculiarities. First, the size of its outer track (called the "Big Track or Grande Piste") is unusual with a lap of 2,000m compared to the international standard of 800m (half mile) or 1,600m (mile). On the other hand, it has a gradient which ensures remarkable selectivity in its competitions: a long descent extends the straight line which passes in front of the stands while a climb is in the back-straight, 1,000 m from the finish. Finally, the ground is ash which ensures flexibility and speed.
The inner track (called "Small Track or Petit Piste") is inside the Grande Piste. It is a flat track and was usually reserved for nocturnal sessions, although the outer track is, since October, fully equipped with new generation LED lights. This allows both tracks to hold racing, whatever the season or time of the day.
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