Charismatic author Jilly Cooper has revealed her visits to the headquarters of horse racing in Newmarket provided her with the inspiration she needed for her latest book Mount!
The author made a number of trips to both trainers’ yards and studs to research her most recent saucy novel — which follows her famous penned books, Jump! and Riders among others.
“I was lucky to meet so many wonderful people in Newmarket who were unstinting in their help with my book. These included trainer Robert Cowell, who invited me to stay at his lovely yard at Six Mile Bottom,” said Jilly, who is a keen racing follower and supporter of the Retraining of Racehorses charity.
“Another highlight was meeting the wonderfully funny Sir Mark Prescott, who took me on a magical trip around his yard and horses, followed by buckets of the most delicious Pimms.
“Earlier in my research, I visited the yard of the most enchanting man, the late Sir Henry Cecil, who introduced me to the mighty Frankel while he was winning every race. I was helped too by former top jockey Richard Hills, now racing manager to Sheikh Hamdan,” added Jilly.
The 79-year-old former journalist took time to visit Newmarket’s Rowley Mile racecourse, which features in the new book during a “titanic battle” to win the 2000 Guineas.
She was treated to a stallion parade at Dalham Hall Stud, where 2015 Derby victor Golden Horn now stands, which she described as one of her “happiest days”.
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Jilly also admits to “admiring some of the handsomest men on the planet” while visiting the sales ring at Tattersalls.
The famous author will be returning to Newmarket on Saturday 17 September to celebrate the release of Mount! — book signings will take place at the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art (11.30am-12.30pm) and the Rowley Mile racecourse (3.30-4.30pm).
Don’t miss our interview with Jilly Cooper in 8 September issue of Horse & Hound — on sale now.