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Sir Henry Cecil: Legendary trainer dies aged 70

Sad news but I bet Frankel made his life complete (from a professional point of view). R.I.P

Sir Henry Cecil, 10-time champion Flat trainer, has died at the age of 70.
Responsible for 25 British Classic winners, Scottish-born Cecil was also the leading handler at Royal Ascot with a record 75 successes.
Cecil, who was knighted in 2011, battled cancer in his later years.
Sir Henry Cecil factfile
Born 11 Jan, 1943, Aberdeen
First trainer's licence 1969
Champion trainer 1976, 1978-9, 1982, 1984-5, 1987-8, 1990, 1993
Derby winners: Slip Anchor 1985, Reference Point 1987, Commander In Chief 1993, Oath 1999
21 other British Classic winners, including Frankel in 2000 Guineas in 2011
Trained more Royal Ascot winners than anyone else with 75
Awarded Knighthood for services to racing in 2011
Trained Frankel to 14 straight wins from 2010-2012
Towards the end of his career, the Newmarket-based Cecil trained Frankel, officially the highest-ever rated racehorse after finishing his career unbeaten in 14 starts.
Cecil was described as "the greatest trainer of all time" by racing broadcaster Derek Thompson, champion National Hunt trainer Paul Nicholls called him "a true legend", while Newmarket racecourse said his contribution to racing would never be forgotten.
American rider Steve Cauthen, who enjoyed six highly successful years as a stable jockey at Warren Place, labelled Cecil "a genius".
"He had a great sense of humour. He was a super intelligent guy and really knew how to place his horses," the 53-year-old said.
"He tried to have fun. The atmosphere during most of the time I was up at Warren Place was just fantastic."
Jockeys at all four meetings in the United Kingdom on Tuesday were wearing black armbands as a mark of respect following the death of Cecil.
A minute's silence was also arranged at the fixtures - at Worcester, Fontwell, Lingfield and Salisbury.
"It is with great sadness that Warren Place Stables confirms the passing of Sir Henry Cecil earlier this morning," said a statement posted on Cecil's website.

Cecil first took out a training licence in 1969.
He had his first British Classic win with Bolkonski in the 1975 renewal of the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, following up in the same race a year later with Wollow.
Both horses were ridden by Frankie Dettori's father, Gianfranco.
Cecil excelled with fillies and trained six 1,000 Guineas winners and eight Oaks victors, his last Epsom heroine being Light Shift in 2007.
He had four Derby winners - Slip Anchor, Reference Point, Commander In Chief and Oath - and four St Leger triumphs.
Among his Leger winners was Oh So Sharp, who completed the fillies' Triple Crown of 1000 Guineas, Oaks and Leger under Cauthen.
Indian Skimmer, probably the best filly Cecil ever trained, won the Prix de Diane in 1987, the English and Irish Champion Stakes the following year and was third in the Breeders' Cup Turf.

Frank Keogh
BBC Sport
Tuesday, 11 June 2013, is one of horse racing's saddest days - the loss of a genuine icon in Sir Henry Cecil. He was a masterful trainer, who won 25 British Classics and guided the brilliant Frankel to 14 straight wins... but Cecil was much more than that.

The elegantly-dressed gent struck a chord with racing fans, from betting shop punters to royalty - self-effacing, enigmatic, a flawed genius who bounced back from devastating lows.

Cecil won 75 races at Royal Ascot. Next week's meeting will just not be the same without him.

But for all the great horses to pass through his care, the best was saved until last in Frankel, who retired to stud after crowning his unbeaten career with victory in the Champion Stakes at Ascot in October 2012.
Cecil married his one-time secretary Jane McKeown in 2008.
He is survived by two children from his first marriage, Katie and Noel, and son Jake from his second marriage.
Cecil's twin brother, David, died from cancer in 2000.
Six years ago, Henry Cecil revealed he had been having treatment for the disease.
Racing presenter Clare Balding paid her respects to Cecil, tweeting: "He was one of the true greats and a gentleman. Frankel his crowning glory."
BBC horse racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght said that "racing and sport as a whole" would be mourning the death of the "iconic" Cecil.
"He also had a warm relationship with the racing public who backed him even when his racing fortunes crashed at the turn of the century," Lysaght added on BBC Radio 5 live.
Grand National-winning trainer David Pipe said Cecil would "be missed by everyone in racing".
Irish flat jockey Johnny Murtagh commented on Twitter that he was "privileged to have ridden" for the trainer.


  • legend. RIP
  • A genuine sporting great a legend in his chosen profession

  • edited June 2013
    A terrific trainer until he fell ill. Cancer, the modern human plague. A heavy smoker in his time and that didn't help ... RIP
  • @se23 said

    Thoughts are with his family.
  • Sad news indeed. Experienced the highs and lows in his career but last year was something to savour for him with Frankel.
  • Met him once in a London Street, stopped to chat.

    A proper gentleman.

    Racing is poorer without him.
  • The greatest British trainer of the modern era.
    Handled Frankel, probably the greatest racehorse ever, to perfection. What a way to end a career. Brilliant.

    RIP Henry.
  • My favourite trainer always wanted to own a horse, and always wanted Sir Henry to train it. Treated shabbily by Sheikh Mohammed, absolute legend R.I.P.
  • RIP sir
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