Keeping Up With Lou Te Keeti
Lou Te Keeti is without a doubt one of modern days most colourful racing & breeding personalities. In late 2016, the Tauranga resident had a lifechanging event after a well-publicised lotto windfall realised a lifelong passion for breeding and racing to be explored to the level most can only dream about!
Lou and his wife of 50 years, Val, have always been avid followers of the thoroughbred racing code, the excitement for thoroughbreds draws purely from racedays and Lou’s childhood dream of owning a Melbourne Cup winner – a dream that continues to spur his involvement.
As for Val, her interests lie in thoroughbred bloodlines and Lou recalls the countless hours she spent studying in her spare time. “Val has been into researching bloodlines, I reckon for 30 years now, however we have never had the money to invest.", commented Te Keeti, and what was once a pipe dream for the couple is now an obtainable reality.
Over the past four years Lou has been a considerable investor in the industry as a racehorse owner, breeder, yearling consigner and stallion investor. Arguably Lou’s very first Karaka sales investment has provided him with the most excitement so far, “I remember going to the summer yearling sale in 2018 and Val insisted I buy a grey horse. I had come to know the team at Westbury Stud very well and they had selected fillies by Reliable Man in Book 1 to show”. It was on day three of the sales, and in conjunction with Graham Richardson, Lou secured Lot 684, a grey filly by Reliable Man from the Fastnet Rock mare Veva Girl, now known as Aalaalune.
Aalaalune has since developed a cult following amongst the racing community having stakes placed in her first start of her 2YO season and is now a multiple Group 1 performer, having been narrowly beaten in the Group 1 Sistema Stakes by Yourdeel. Lou also shares ownership of her full sister De La Terre, a winner at 2 and finished with a creditable 7th place in the 2020 Karaka Million, having both horses compete on Karaka Million night in the respective 2YO & 3YO races remains a clear highlight to Lou.
Breeding thoroughbreds is now a reality for the ambitious couple, “Val loves looking at the bloodlines and we both love the animal, we now have the land and can prepare horses with the help of our staff”, Te Keeti adds. Having bred from 6 mares Lou now has a healthy crop of young bloodstock coming through including a noteworthy rising two-year-old El Roca colt which Lou has his hopes set on, “We have supported nice stallions including El Roca and Telperion, we have some really nice young horses from our mares to work with”.
With horses spread throughout New Zealand and Australia, including a number residing with Champion kiwi expat trainer Chris Waller, Lou is as keen as ever and admits he will never forget his background and feels a sense of great fortune being lucky enough to be involved in an industry that he cares so deeply about.
What race would you travel back in time for?
The 1986 Cox Plate – Bonecrusher vs Our Waverley Star.
Race you would most like to win?
Best horse you have seen?
I have seen so many top horses. The 2 that stick out for me are Uncle Remus & Bonecrusher.
Favourite stallion of all time?
Favourite stallion at Westbury Stud?
Reliable Man – Aalaalune & De La Terre have been very good to me!
Best piece of breeding advice you’ve received?
Always upgrade your mares. Breed from good horses you have raced, not good horses other people have raced – its more enjoyable.
Photo credit \ Michael Rist