Cooper still in dreamland after Sultanina win
Last Updated: 12/08/14 4:17pm
Owner-breeder Philippa Cooper admits she is still pinching herself following Sultanina's brilliant victory in the Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.
The daughter of New Approach did not make her racecourse debut until winning at Salisbury in mid-May, but has made superb progress in less than three months and now has a Group One triumph to her name.
Cooper, who owns and runs the successful Normandie Stud operation in West Sussex, has had three individual Group One winners, with Fallen For You landing the 2012 Coronation Stakes and Duncan dead-heating in the 2011 Irish St Leger.
Sultanina failed to make the racecourse as a two-year-old or at three, but Cooper has had the utmost faith in her filly since day one.
"I'm still a little bit overwhelmed by it all and it's almost as though it's happening to someone else," she said.
"It's fantastic for all the team at Normandie and for the filly to do what she has done as a four-year-old in basically 10 weeks is really unbelievable.
"I said from an early stage I thought she was the best filly we'd bred at Normandie. There was just something about her way and her stride.
"She had a lot of trouble with sore shins last year and I think John was ready to draw stumps, but I have so much faith in the filly I begged him to keep trying with her and we brought her back as an unraced four-year-old.
"When she ran on her debut at Salisbury, I told William Buick I had a lot of faith in her, but she was so bad for most of the race. I thought it was going to be a total embarrassment, but in the last furlong she picked up.
"She then won the Pinnacle Stakes at Haydock and I felt the tactics were wrong when she was second in the Lancashire Oaks. She was still inexperienced and raced much too free and ended up being a pacemaker.
"I wasn't worried about he racing on faster ground at Goodwood as although I named her mother Soft Centre, she actually only went on top of the ground.
"My only worry was that she'd had sore shins in the past, but the trainer has been patient and those problems appear to be behind her."
Gosden immediately identified the British Champions Fillies And Mares Stakes at Ascot on October 18 as the likely end-of-season target for Sultanina, but Cooper has raised the possibility of her running in France beforehand.
Cooper has, however, categorically ruled out a trip to the Breeders' Cup at the end of the year.
"She came out of the Goodwood race really well. John said her shins were as cold as ice the next day," said Cooper.
"I'm not quite sure where she'll go next. She definitely won't be running in the Yorkshire Oaks next week, but there are options in France, so I suspect that's where she'll make her next appearance.
"I don't know if she needs to (run before Ascot). I'll leave that to John.
"I won't interfere and I'll be leaving the race planning to John, but she definitely won't be running in America.
"I'm very much ante-drugs, I don't agree with running horses on Lasix and for that reason running in America doesn't interest me."
Cooper is in no rush to decide whether Sultanina will stay in training as a five-year-old, saying: "She has only had the one year, so it's a possibility, but it's not something I will make a snap decision about.
"I think it's something I will consider over the winter."