Jilly Cooper has had a “heavenly” time this summer researching her new novel – set in the world of Flat racing.

And small wonder. “I’ve been to the Guineas, the Derby, to Ascot and I’m off to Goodwood this week. I’ve met Sir Henry Cecil and even Frankel,” Jilly told H&H.

“I don’t think the latter liked me very much, though, as he tried to nip me.”

Jilly’s favourite rascal-in-jods Rupert Campbell-Black once again stars in the new book – working title Leading Sire – with his stallion Love Rat and the horse’s offspring Master Quickly.

Jilly’s last novel Jump! focused on the National Hunt world, but the author admits she’s now “fallen in love” with the Flat.

“I never understood why people liked sprints, but now I do,” she said. “I’m fascinated by the breeding side and the sense of dynasty.

“And, of course, the men are so charming and dress so beautifully.”

Jilly has taken a share in an unraced two-year-old filly called Jillywinks, trained by Scott Dixon as part of a ladies-only syndicate.

“She is a beautiful filly. I watched her on the gallops and she moves effortlessly.”

A publication date for the novel has not been set.

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (3 August 2012)