The French Rothschilds began to race horses as early as 1835 when Baron James Mayer de Rothschild (1792-1868) created racing stables at his Ferrières estate. Still in existence, now relocated to Normandy, the Rothschild stables are one of the oldest in France. Ferrières was the perfect location, close to both Paris and Chantilly, which was the centre of the horse-racing world in France.
Initially the majority of horses belonging to Baron James raced under the colours of their trainer, Thomas Carter, in amber vest, lilac sleeves and grey cap. This was soon changed to the now famous blue vest and yellow cap, variations of which are still used by different members of the Rothschild family.
The stables were successful in James's lifetime with victories in the Grand Prix Royal in 1844 won by Drummer, and the Prix du Jockey Club in 1846 won by Médon. In 1868, brothers Alphonse and Gustave succeeded their father as joint-owners of the stables. In 1879 they decided to move from Ferrières to set up a stud farm at Meautry in Normandy, where the stud has remained to this day. From the very start Meautry established itself as one of France's top breeding farms with winners such as Heaume and Le Roi Soleil.