Racing Staff Q&A: Shadwell Stud director Richard Lancaster's PA Mandy Forber
The invaluable role played by stable, stud and racecourse staff has been recognised by Racing Staff Week, which began on Saturday. Sponsored by Betfair, it is designed to inform and engage racegoers and backers of the sport, while rewarding those who dedicate their working lives to the racing and bloodstock industries. This week we speak to those who spend their lives supporting the sport, day in, day out.
Name Mandy Forber
Job PA to stud director Richard Lancaster at Shadwell Estate Company Ltd
How did you first get involved with racing?
I learned to ride when I was eight and had ponies, but this did not develop into a great riding career. My interest in racing came from my dad who regularly took me to our local course Fakenham. When he retired he purchased two broodmares and had the occasional horse in training on the Flat. With secretarial training, this led to me joining the stud office team at Shadwell in 1989.
What experience have you built up in racing?
My career has mostly focused around stud administration with seven years at Shadwell followed by 22 years at Juddmonte, where I was involved in getting the mares booked into the stallions for covering with all the correct documentation in place. My previous experience is hugely advantageous to my new role at Shadwell as I have the benefit of knowing who's who in the stud and racing industry.
What does your current role involve?
PA work brings a variety of tasks, from arranging travel and racing hospitality to taking minutes at board meetings. I also look after cattle administration for the Shadwell Aberdeen Angus herd and chair the Shadwell charities committee.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy the variety and challenges of the role.
And what is the most challenging aspect?
Multi-multitasking! Continually having to reprioritise after finding yourself dealing with about ten things at once!
What's been your best moment in the sport?
It has to be moments. I was privileged to be part of the Shadwell team during Nashwan's racing career and the Juddmonte team during Frankel's – need I say more?! However, it was pretty special when dad's filly Burglar Tip won a race at Hamilton in 1979.
And who's your favourite stallion you've worked with?
I steer away from having favourites but working with Green Desert at Shadwell, then his son Oasis Dream at Juddmonte and now his son Muhaarar at Shadwell, so it has become my favourite stallion line.
What are your future ambitions in the industry?
To remain in the industry until I finish working. I had a short break because I thought I wanted to do something different, but I missed the sport sorely, so I came back.
What advice would you give to young people thinking about working in racing?
It's a great industry to work in but be prepared for seasonal hours, weekend working and giving that extra time when it's needed. The rewards for this are the highs of the successes, which are very special.
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