'I even have a picture of Siyouni and me at home in our nursery'
Newly-appointed Goffs French agent Amanda Zetterholm answers our questions
Amanda Zetterholm, a successful amateur rider, buyer and assistant to the likes of Mike de Kock and David Cottin, has been appointed as the new French agent for Goffs, with a brief of boosting French attendance and activity at the sales.
You’ve had a wide experience in the industry. Do you come from a racing background?
I spent my childhood on a horse’s back; I rode in the Swedish pony showjumping championship and eventing. I have to thank my mum, who invested her time 100 per cent in taking me around the country in our van. I hope I will be forced to do the same for my two boys!
My first experience in racing came when I went to university in Melbourne. The Flemington racetrack was just across the road and I used to ride out in the mornings for Mathew Ellerton and David Hayes before going into class. My first real job in racing came for Melbourne-based bloodstock agent Damon Gabbedy.
Who have been the biggest influences in your career so far?
I would have to say Georges Rimaud, the manager of the Aga Khan Studs, who took me under his wing when I got to France. I would not be where I am today without his constant challenging to do better, keep aiming higher.
Did you have a particular ambition?
My ambition is to keep living my passion as my full-time job, and I would love to bring more newcomers into the industry and let them discover this incredible rollercoaster experience that racing gives us. Fortunately the highs are much higher than the lows and when you are associated with a winner there is no way to describe this feeling.
You are still involved with the Aga Khan’s studs. What is your role there and what is it like being around the likes of Siyouni and Zarkava?
I previously worked on the client relation and nominations side, where I started the same year Siyouni had his first year at stud. We progressed together and today he is a world-class stallion and I am taking on this new exciting role at Goffs!
Today I am assisting our racing manager Nemone Routh, based at the training centre in Chantilly, where I am very lucky to follow closely our young stock from the likes of Zarkava and Siyouni.
What appealed to you about the new role with Goffs?
I was very flattered to be offered this job as I have spent many of my previous years going to the sales at Goffs for the Aga Khan Studs. They have always appealed to me as an extremely professional and forward-thinking team who look after their clients in a very personal way, and Goffs' reputation for integrity is absolutely in line with that of the Aga Khan Studs.
What will you be doing?
My focus is on getting more French buyers to the Orby, November and Land Rover Sales, and assisting with their visits to Kildare. We have made progress on this already in fact!
Goffs has a new collaboration with Flexjet, a luxury private jet company, and together with Hayley O’Connor, who looks after international client relations at Goffs, we will be arranging a
seamless journey for the leading French-based owners and buyers to attend the Orby - which will be a great advantage given the sale’s proximity to the Arc weekend.
You bought the exciting Le Berry, who’s trained by your partner David Cottin. How did you find him, and when might we see him next?
I came across him by pure luck as I was out looking at stock by Aga Khan stallions at a nearby stud called Haras de Maulepaire. He was grazing in the paddock as we walked by and he caught my eye.
When I was told he was by the first-season sire Gemix, I immediately got in touch with the owners of Gemix, who decided to buy him, together with David and I, on our first year of setting up training. His next objective will be the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris on May 23.
You’ve ridden as an amateur in France. Were there any particular highlights and would you ever think of making a comeback?
I have ridden winners in Italy, England and France and I would say my highlight was when I rode for His Highness [the Aga Khan] on Prix de Diane day at Chantilly in front of 40,000 people – I finished second in a tight finish but the boss was still happy with me!
I would say there is a bigger chance one of my sons will ride in an amateur race before I make my comeback…they are one and three, so no, not any time soon! Today I still enjoy riding out with David’s string whenever I have a babysitter around.
Do you prefer Flat racing, or jumps racing?
Tough question. I obviously started with Flat racing so this will always be closest to my heart, but jumps racing gives you such a thrill and I love watching the cross-country races as there is such a complicity between the horse and the jockey. This is where my new role at Goffs fits perfectly as I will very much be working with the two.
Do you have a favourite horse from all your experiences so far?
I have to say Siyouni. I got to experience his path from being a first-season sire to a world-class Group 1- and Classic-producing sire. I even have a picture of him and me at home in our nursery, as that was my leaving gift from Bonneval.