Philippa Cooper reveals exciting covers for mare band after Normandie Stud sale
Galileo and Sea The Stars in line for blue-chip broodmares
Philippa Cooper has sold her Normandie Stud in West Sussex to John and Mandy Hooper, who will use the farm as a base from which to breed showjumpers.
As a result, Cooper's blue-chip broodmare band is now boarding at Coolmore in Country Tipperary and Chasemore Farm in Surrey. Nine of her mares are also making the trip across the English Channel to be covered by various French sires next year.
Cooper, who bred the Group 1 winners Duncan, Fallen For You and Sultanina in her 20 years at the picturesque Normandie Stud, said: "I'd run my course at the stud. To stay with one project for 20 years was a huge thing for me. I'm taking my families with me and, yes, Normandie was the essence of them but they will do even better where they are now. Nothing is going to change.
"Anthony Stroud, my adviser, has been a huge help throughout the years, which has been incredibly important."
Cooper also paid tribute to her staff at the stud.
"The team at Normandie who have worked here have been unbelievable," she said. "From when I first told them about the stud being for sale they have been 100 per cent behind it.
"I owe all the preparations to them and we'll always keep in touch. I have been humbled by their loyalty throughout and it wouldn't have been Normandie without them."
Among the 11 mares who now reside at Coolmore are Coronation Stakes heroine Fallen For You, Nassau Stakes winner Sultanina and Prix de Flore scorer Loving Things, while Chasemore Farm is now home to the rest of her broodmare band, including Fallen For You's dam Fallen Star and Duncan's dam Dolores.
The more commercial nature of matings that Cooper adopted this year will continue with Fallen For You - the dam of last year's 2,600,000gns Book 1 joint-top lot Glorious Journey, now unbeaten in two starts - to be given a date with perennial champion sire Galileo after she delivers a foal by outstanding miler Kingman.
"It makes sense for Fallen For You to go to Galileo as she's there," said Cooper. "Galileo is such a brilliant sire and one of my other mares, Fallen In Love, a half-sister to Fallen For You, is by Galileo. So the sire has worked with the family, which makes it so exciting. You have to use Galileo as he's getting older."
Fallen In Love, who produced Loving Things to Pivotal, is currently in foal to Haras de Bonneval's exciting son of Pivotal, Siyouni and is set for a date with Fastnet Rock.
The Fastnet Rock-Galileo cross has proved to be fruitful in recent years thanks to the top-level victories of Qualify, Intricately and Rivet.
Cooper added: "I think you have to be very careful with what mare you send Fastnet Rock as you don't want to send him a great big mare. But he has shown many times he works with Galileo mares."
Nassau Stakes heroine Sultanina has a date with Sea The Stars in store after she delivers a foal by Dubawi in the new year. The decision to send the seven-year-old daughter to the Gilltown Stud resident was born from Cooper's passion for breeding stayers.
"Sea The Stars is my favourite racehorse of all time," said Cooper. "Another of my mares, Gale Force, who is from Harzand's family and was a Listed winner over just short of two miles.
"She has a Frankel filly foal, is back in foal to Frankel and will also visit Sea The Stars next year. If I got a Cup horse from the mating I'd be over the moon.
"The programme for staying horses has improved so much and we've got so many races and maidens. There's big support from the BHA and the TBA and Julian Richmond-Watson has done fantastic things with the staying programme, so I want to contribute to that."
Two of Cooper's grande dames - Dolores, an 18-year-old daughter of Danehill who is the dam of Group winners Gretchen and Samuel as well as Irish St Leger dead-heater Duncan and the Listed-winning Brief Truce mare Fallen Star, 19 - will have their final covers when they visit Golden Horn and Postponed respectively next year.
"Dubawi has worked very well with the Fallen Star family through her grandson Glorious Journey. and his son Postponed is a middle-distance horse who is very good-looking so I wanted to support him," Cooper remarked.
Park Hill Stakes winner Gretchen, covered by Dubawi this year, will visit Lope De Vega for her next cover in 2018.
Underlining the commercial feel to Cooper's matings is the name on French Dressing's dance card after the five-year-old daughter of Sea The Stars delivers a foal by dual world champion Frankel.
The unbeaten Listed winner will visit Yeomanstown Stud hotshot Dark Angel, who had a phenomenal year in 2017 crowned by supplying three new winners at the highest level.
The mating marks something of a departure for Cooper, who said: "I'm doing something that I would have never, ever done before with French Dressing by going to Dark Angel. I'm having sleepless nights over it because I never go to sprinters. But I felt that because Dark Angel has bred milers such as Persuasive he would be an exception."
Two of Cooper's other mares, Carisolo and Halle Bop, are bound for Haras du Thenney's new recruit Reliable Man, while also travelling to France will be Coconut Creme, a Listed-placed Cape Cross half-sister to Sultanina who has had Siyouni selected as her first cover.
Cooper added: "I loved Reliable Man as a racehorse; he raced at the same time as Duncan. They were both by Dalakhani, who I admired greatly. Reliable Man has done incredibly well this year from not the best group of mares. I would have used him when he was in Germany but he was too far away and now he's in France, I wanted to support him."