Henry Cecil | 1943-2013
The racing world was left stunned at the passing earlier today of top trainer Sir Henry Cecil.
The 10-time Champion trainer passed away after a six-year battle with cancer but not before he went down in racing folklore for training wonder-horse Frankel to 14 consecutive wins last year. The Newmarket trainer also saddled 75 winners at Royal Ascot making him the leading trainer at next week’s meeting.
Here’s a brief glimpse of the career of one of racing’s true gentlemen and the tributes that followed.
Quite simply the most decent, funny, caring and genius man I have ever met. Sir Henry Cecil. Everyone will miss you so very much. #RIP
— Matt Chapman (@MCYeeehaaa) June 11, 2013
A sad day for racing we have lost a true ambassador for our sport in Sir Henry Cecil privileged to have ridden for him #truegentleman
— Johnny Murtagh (@JohnnyMurtagh) June 11, 2013
Cecil’s career ended on a high when the mighty Frankel carried all before him in a 14-race unbeaten stretch. The video below of a May Day in 2011 signalled Frankel’s greatness to the world. Some thought he would burn himself by pulling too hard in proper Group One company or that stamina would fail him if he tried to gallop all the way with the choke out.
After two furlongs he had the others off the bridle and was 14 lengths clear at one stage. Cecil never got carried away and gradually stepped him up to 10 furlongs where he ended his career unbeaten at Ascot in the English Champion Stakes last October.
Frankel annihilates the 2,000 Guineas field in 2011
With 25 British Classic wins to his name (36 worldwide) it would be hard to single out one victory. But life wasn’t always a bed of roses for the Warren Place handler and when Sheikh Mohammed removed his horses in the mid-90s, Cecil career took a nosedive and took almost a decade to recover.
On a emotional Epsom Downs in 2007, Light Shift gave him his first Classic win for seven years and announced his return to the world stage. And then Frankel walked through the gates.
And while one-time stable jockeys Tom Queally, Steve Cauthen and CH4 presenter Clare Balding paid their respects Royal Ascot next week just won’t feel the same.