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|Sir Henry Cecil|
11 January 1943 |
|Major racing wins, honours and awards|
|Major racing wins|
|British Classic Race wins:
2,000 Guineas (3)
1,000 Guineas (6)
Epsom Oaks (8)
Epsom Derby (4)
St. Leger Stakes (4)
|Champion Trainer (1976, 1978, 1979, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1993)|
|Wollow, Kris, Le Moss, Ardross, Diesis, Slip Anchor, Oh So Sharp, Reference Point, Belmez, Indian Skimmer, Michelozzo, Commander in Chief, King's Theatre, Snow Bride, Ramruma, Bosra Sham, Oath, Midday, Twice Over, Frankel|
Sir Henry Richard Amherst Cecil (born 11 January 1943) is an English flat racing trainer. He is widely regarded to be one of the greatest trainers to ever have graced the Turf. Cecil has been Champion Trainer 10 times and, as of June 2012, has trained 25 domestic Classic winners, comprising four winners of the Epsom Derby, eight winners of the Epsom Oaks, six winners of the 1,000 Guineas, three of the 2,000 Guineas and four winners of the St. Leger Stakes. His success in the Epsom Oaks and the 1,000 Guineas has made him particularly renowned for his success with fillies. He is the Master Trainer at Royal Ascot, where he has saddled more than 70 winners.
Describing his approach to training, Cecil told The Daily Telegraph: "I do everything by instinct really, not by the book. I like to think I’ve got a feeling for and understand my horses, that they tell me what to do really."
Background and education 
Cecil was born on 11 January 1943 in a hospital near Aberdeen, ten minutes ahead of his twin brother David. His father, Henry Cecil, younger brother of the 3rd Lord Amherst of Hackney, had been killed in action with the Parachute Regiment in North Africa a fortnight earlier. His mother, Rohays Cecil, was the daughter of Major-General Sir James Burnett of Leys, 13th Baronet, owner of Crathes Castle, Aberdeenshire, which is today opened to the public by the National Trust for Scotland.
Cecil and his brother were educated at Sunningdale School and at Canford School, Dorset. He described himself as "very late-maturing and backward", explaining that he was the first boy from his prep school ever to fail Common Entrance to Eton. After school, the twins went to work at the Earl of Derby's Woodland Stud in Newmarket, Suffolk, and at other studs overseas. They completed their education at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester.
Training career 
Early career and success 
From 1964 to 1968 Cecil worked as an assistant at his stepfather's Freemason Lodge stable. He took out his own licence to train in 1969 and that year had his first winner with Celestial Cloud at Ripon on 17 May, with Wolver Hollow winning the Eclipse Stakes in July to give Cecil his first Group One success. He had his first winner at Royal Ascot the following year when Parthenon won the Queen Alexandra Stakes. In his early years Cecil received the support of Lord Howard de Walden, a noted breeder and owner of racehorses.
The languid, dandyish Cecil, noted for his flair in clothing, went on to remarkable achievements. In 1973 he tasted his first Classic success in Ireland when Cloonagh won the Irish 1,000 Guineas and in 1975 he won his first English Classic with Bolkonski at the 2,000 Guineas. He won three 1,000 Guineas and a further 2,000 Guineas before winning his first Epsom Derby in 1985 with Slip Anchor. In 1976 he had taken over the running of Warren Place in Newmarket from Sir Noel Murless, the father of his first wife, and he turned the stables into what has been called "the most glamorous yard in Europe", setting it at "the pinnacle of British racing". In 1999 he won three of the five Classic races and finished second in the other two. Prince Ahmed bin Salman, the owner of Oath, one of Cecil's Derby winners, once said: "Winning Classics is easy. Just buy a horse and send it to Henry Cecil".
Period in the wilderness 
After years of success, Cecil experienced a dramatic fall from grace. In the space of a few years a number of owner-breeders with long-standing relationships with Cecil died, including Louis Freedman, Jim Joel and Lord Howard de Walden. His first wife, Julie, and his head lad, Paddy Rudkin, left and in 1995 Cecil's relationship with Sheikh Mohammed broke down, with the owner removing the 40 horses he had in training at Cecil's stable. Sheikh Mohammed suggested at the time that he had not been informed about an injury to one of his thoroughbreds, although Cecil maintained that they were still "great friends" and had not fallen out. A number of Cecil's most notable horses had been owned by Sheikh Mohammed, including Oh So Sharp, Diminuendo, Indian Skimmer and Belmez.
Between July 2000 and October 2006, Cecil failed to train a winner in any Group One race. In 2005 he saddled just a dozen winners overall. His stable of 200 horses shrank to barely 50 and Cecil began to talk of retirement. His second marriage publicly collapsed, his twin brother David died of cancer in 2000, his yard was losing money, and in 2006 it was revealed that he was himself undergoing treatment for stomach cancer. Cecil recalled being on the Heath at Newmarket and overhearing someone say, "That's Henry Cecil. He should have retired a long time ago". His stable was supported almost exclusively by the loyalty of Prince Khaled Abdulla.
Return to success and Frankel 
When Cecil's Light Shift won the Oaks in 2007 it marked a return to form. It was his 24th English Classic winner and his eighth victory in the race, seven years after his previous winner. The season before he had barely made it into the top 100 trainers in the country. "I might not be [competitive] on the outside," Cecil told The Independent newspaper. "But I am on the inside, definitely – underneath, very competitive. Always have been. We like winning, you know. We do like winning. It's what motivates you. Nobody likes failure. Your horses are running badly, or they're no good, you get jealous of everybody else. It's not quite so much fun, is it?" The 2011 season was Cecil’s best for 10 years. He saddled 55 winners, securing prize money totaling more than £2.7 million.
Cecil's success in 2011 was partly due to his training of the Khalid Abdullah-owned Frankel. In the 2010 season Frankel won the Royal Lodge Stakes and Group One Dewhurst Stakes. The following year he continued unbeaten, winning the Greenham Stakes, the 2,000 Guineas, the St. James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, the Sussex Stakes and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. His six length victory in the 2,000 Guineas was described as "one of the greatest displays on a British racecourse". After his win in the Sussex Stakes Cecil himself described Frankel as "the best horse I've ever seen". Timeform and the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities rated him the best horse in the world. In his four-year-old season Frankel won the Group One Lockinge Stakes at Newbury before an eleven length victory in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot, described in one national newspaper as "possibly the best single performance by any horse, on any track, since three Arabian stallions were imported into Britain to found the thoroughbred breed in the early years of the 18th century". Timeform raised their rating to 147, making Frankel the highest rated horse in their history. He won a second Sussex Stakes, at odds of 1-20, and then stepped up in distance to win by seven lengths the Juddmonte International Stakes at York over 10 furlongs. In October 2012 Frankel won the Champion Stakes at Ascot to finish his career unbeaten. "He's the best I've ever had, the best I've ever seen," Cecil told the BBC after the race, "I'd be very surprised if there's ever been a better."
Personal life 
Cecil married Julie Murless, the daughter of the noted trainer Sir Noel Murless, in 1966. The couple had two children but divorced in 1990. Cecil had been conducting an affair with Natalie Payne, whom he married two years later. When they met Cecil was 46 and his future second wife was 22.
Cecil's second marriage broke down very publicly. Newspaper reports alleged that his wife was being unfaithful, including with an unidentified jockey, while a front page story in the News of the World suggested that Cecil had stayed at the Grand Hotel in Brighton with an £800-a-night prostitute. Days after the story broke Cecil dismissed his stable jockey Kieren Fallon for "personal reasons". Fallon issued a statement denying that he was involved in the breakdown of the Cecil marriage and began legal proceedings for breach of contract; the case was settled out of court. Cecil and his wife divorced in 2002.
In 2008 Cecil married Jane McKeown.
Cecil continues to receive treatment for stomach cancer. He was unable to be at Goodwood for Frankel's second victory in the Sussex Stakes in August 2012, but did attend the Ebor Festival at York later that month, describing Frankel's victory in the International Stakes as having made him feel "20 years better".
Major wins 
- 1,000 Guineas – (6) – One in a Million (1979), Fairy Footsteps (1981), Oh So Sharp (1985), Bosra Sham (1996), Sleepytime (1997), Wince (1999)
- 2,000 Guineas – (3) – Bolkonski (1975), Wollow (1976), Frankel (2011)
- Ascot Gold Cup – (5) – Le Moss (1979, 1980), Ardross (1981, 1982), Paean (1987)
- Champion Stakes – (5) – Indian Skimmer (1988), Bosra Sham (1996), Twice Over (2009, 2010), Frankel (2012)
- Coronation Stakes – (5) – Roussalka (1975), One in a Million (1979), Chalon (1982), Chimes of Freedom (1990), Kissing Cousin (1994)
- Derby – (4) – Slip Anchor (1985), Reference Point (1987), Commander in Chief (1993), Oath (1999)
- Dewhurst Stakes – (3) – Wollow (1975), Diesis (1982), Frankel (2010)
- Eclipse Stakes – (4) – Wolver Hollow (1969), Wollow (1976), Gunner B (1978), Twice Over (2010)
- Falmouth Stakes – (3) – Chalon (1982), Chimes of Freedom (1990), Timepiece (2011)
- Fillies' Mile – (6) – Formulate (1978), Oh So Sharp (1984), Diminuendo (1987), Tessla (1988), Bosra Sham (1995), Reams of Verse (1996)
- International Stakes – (4) – Wollow (1976), Royal Anthem (1999), Twice Over (2011) Frankel (2012)
- King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes – (3) – Reference Point (1987), Belmez (1990), King's Theatre (1994)
- Lockinge Stakes – (3) – Belmont Bay (1981), Prismatic (1985), Frankel (2012)
- Middle Park Stakes – (2) – Cajun (1981), Diesis (1982)
- Nassau Stakes – (8) – Roussalka (1975, 1976), Connaught Bridge (1979), Nom de Plume (1987), Lyphard's Delta (1993), Midday (2009, 2010, 2011)
- Oaks – (8) – Oh So Sharp (1985), Diminuendo (1988), Snow Bride (1989), Lady Carla (1996), Reams of Verse (1997), Ramruma (1999), Love Divine (2000), Light Shift (2007)
- Prince of Wales's Stakes – (5) – Lucky Wednesday (1977), Gunner B (1978), Perpendicular (1992), Placerville (1993), Bosra Sham (1997)
- Queen Anne Stakes – (5) – Belmont Bay (1981), Mr Fluorocarbon (1982), Valiyar (1983), Trojan Fen (1984), Frankel (2012)
- Queen Elizabeth II Stakes – (2) – Kris (1979), Frankel (2011)
- Racing Post Trophy – (10) – Approval (1969), Take Your Place (1975), Hello Gorgeous (1979), Dunbeath (1982), Lanfranco (1984), Reference Point (1986), Be My Chief (1989), Peter Davies (1990), Armiger (1992), King's Theatre (1993)
- St. James's Palace Stakes – (5) – Bolkonski (1975), Kris (1979), Shavian (1990), Dr Fong (1998), Frankel (2011)
- St. Leger – (4) – Light Cavalry (1980), Oh So Sharp (1985), Reference Point (1987), Michelozzo (1989)
- Sun Chariot Stakes – (2) – Home on the Range (1981), Indian Skimmer (1988)
- Sussex Stakes – (7) – Bolkonski (1975), Wollow (1976), Kris (1979), Distant View (1994), Ali-Royal (1997), Frankel (2011, 2012)
- Yorkshire Oaks – (5) – Connaught Bridge (1979), Diminuendo (1988), Catchascatchcan (1998), Ramruma (1999), Midday (2010)
- Canadian International Stakes – (1) – Royal Anthem (1998)
- Critérium de Saint-Cloud – (1) – Passage of Time (2006)
- Grand Critérium – (1) – Tenby (1992)
- Grand Prix de Paris – (1) – Beat Hollow (2000)
- Prix de Diane – (2) – Indian Skimmer (1987), Rafha (1990)
- Prix de la Forêt – (1) – Salse (1988)
- Prix d'Ispahan – (1) – Indian Skimmer (1989)
- Prix du Jockey Club – (1) – Old Vic (1989)
- Prix Maurice de Gheest – (1) – Pursuit of Love (1992)
- Prix du Moulin de Longchamp – (1) – All at Sea (1992)
- Prix Royal-Oak – (2) – Ardross (1981), El Cuite (1986)
- Prix Saint-Alary – (1) – Indian Skimmer (1987)
- Prix Vermeille – (1) – Midday (2010)
- Irish 1,000 Guineas – (1) – Cloonagh (1973)
- Irish Champion Stakes – (1) – Indian Skimmer (1988)
- Irish Derby – (2) – Old Vic (1989), Commander in Chief (1993)
- Irish Oaks – (3) – Diminuendo (1988, dead heat), Alydaress (1989), Ramruma (1999)
- Matron Stakes - (1) - Chachamaidee (2012
- Moyglare Stud Stakes – (1) – Chimes of Freedom (1989)
- Tattersalls Gold Cup – (1) – Shiva (1999)
- Gran Premio d'Italia – (1) – El Cuite (1986)
- Premio Roma – (2) – Irvine (1972), Orban (1987)
- Premio Vittorio di Capua – (1) – Star Cutter (1986)
- Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf – (1) – Midday (2009)
- Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes – (1) – Yashmak (1997)
- "Who's Who: Cecil, Sir Henry (Richard Amherst)", Who's Who 2012. "Online entry requiring subscription". Retrieved 2012-06-18.
- Evans, Richard. "Tortured genius of the Turf suffers a tragic fall from grace", The Daily Telegraph, 3 November 2000. Retrieved 2012-06-19.
- "Sir Henry", Sir Henry Cecil website. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
- Wood, Greg. "Time may be right for return of Cecil glory days", The Guardian, 1 June 2007. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
- Chadband, Ian. "Henry Cecil the perfect man to handle wonderhorse Frankel", The Daily Telegraph, 12 October 2011. Retrieved 2012-06-19.
- "Queen's birthday honours list: Knights", The Guardian, 11 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-11.
- McGrath, JA and Rainey, Sarah. "Henry Cecil is the toast of horse racing after being awarded a knighthood", The Daily Telegraph, 10 June 2011. Retrieved 2012-06-19.
- "Obituary: David Cecil", The Daily Telegraph, 10 November 2000. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
- Cook, Chris. "Henry Cecil back in fashion as Frankel takes real flair to Royal Ascot", The Guardian, 17 June 2013. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
- "Hooray for Henry at Ripon", Press Association via MSN news, 30 May 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
- Armytage, Marcus. "Royal Ascot: Cecil feeling the strain", The Daily Telegraph, 22 June 2001. Retrieved 2012-06-19.
- Wood, Greg. "Flag of uncertainty over Warren Place", The Independent, 4 October 1995. Retrieved 2012-06-19.
- Armytage, Marcus. "Henry Cecil aims to fly the flag at the Derby once again", The Daily Telegraph, 29 May 2010. Retrieved 2012-11-1.
- Reid, Jamie. "Training Places", The Financial Times, 27 June 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-1.
- Reid, Jamie. Emperors Of The Turf, London: Macmillan (1989), p.94.
- "Career History: Sir Henry Cecil", Website: horse-racing.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
- McGrath, Chris. "Henry Cecil: 'I don't like to be defeated – beat depression, get on'", The Independent, 25 July 2011. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
- Kelso, Paul. "Diffident but passionate and, like his horses, genuine", The Guardian, 3 June 2008. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
- Davies, Ian. "Racing: Owner Lord Howard de Walden dies", The Independent, 11 July 1999. Retrieved 2012-06-19.
- Alderson, Andrew. "'Being unfaithful is the lowest you can stoop. I will always regret it'", The Daily Telegraph, 7 September 2003. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
- "Henry soldiers on", The Observer, 12 June 2005. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
- Paley, Tony. "Cecil has Wellbeing taken away", The Guardian, 7 January 2002. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
- Alderson, Andrew. "I was on the brink of quitting, says Cecil", The Daily Telegraph, 5 November 2000. Retrieved 2012-06-19.
- Hayward, Paul. "The hunger that drives the long reign of King Henry Cecil", The Observer, 12 June 2011. Retrieved 2012-06-19.
- Armytage, Marcus. "Frankel is the result of a lightning strike of genetics that may not be repeated for 100 years", The Daily Telegraph, 25 August 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-30.
- Wood, Greg. "Cecil finds Light at end of the tunnel to lift the Oaks at last", The Guardian, 2 June 2007. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
- Cook, Chris. "Frankel reaches superstar status after 2,000 Guineas win at Newmarket", The Guardian, 30 April 2011. Retrieved 2012-06-27.
- "Frankel has potential to justify claims of greatness", The Guardian, 3 August 2011. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
- "Timeform Racehorses of 2011: Frankel the best for 39 years", Betfair, 9 January 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
- "World Thoroughbred Rankings covering the period 1st April to 16th October 2011", International Federation of Horseracing Authorities. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
- Wood, Greg. "Frankel hailed as greatest ever after Royal Ascot Queen Anne Stakes win", The Guardian, 19 June 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-27.
- Cook, Chris. "Frankel has no trouble with glorious 12th success at Goodwood", The Guardian, 1 August 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-30.
- Hotspur (McGrath, J A) "Frankel extends unbeaten record to 12 with Sussex Stakes stroll at Glorious Goodwood", The Daily Telegraph, 1 August 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-30.
- Hayler, Will. "Frankel scores by seven lengths in Juddmonte International at York", The Guardian, 22 August 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-30.
- Brown, Oliver. "Peerless Frankel crushes his rivals to reign supreme at York", The Daily Telegraph, 23 August 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-30.
- Wood, Greg. "Frankel wins Champion Stakes at Ascot and will be retired unbeaten", The Observer, 20 October 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-2.
- Hayward, Paul. "The wonder of Frankel will be surpassed only by the brilliance of trainer Sir Henry Cecil", The Daily Telegraph, 21 October 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-2.
- Keogh, Frank. "Frankel retires unbeaten after Champion Stakes win at Ascot", BBC, 20 October 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-2.
- Levy, Geoffrey. "Adultery, the trainer's stable-girl wife and the sacked top jockey", The Daily Mail, 29 July 1999. Link to article on InfoTrac National Newspapers Database (login required). Retrieved 2012-06-18.
- "Racing: Fallon in dark over dismissal", The Independent, 7 August 1999. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
- Sapsted, David. "Cecil gets five-year ban for drink-driving", The Daily Telegraph, 3 November 2000. Retrieved 2012-06-19.
- Hayler, Will. "Sir Henry Cecil determined to be in York's grandstand for Frankel race", The Guardian, 20 August 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-30.
- Armytage, Marcus. "Frankel's victory at York made me feel 'twenty years better', says trainer Sir Henry Cecil, as he battles cancer", The Daily Telegraph, 23 August 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-30.
- Wood, Greg. "Cheers ring out for Sir Henry Cecil after Frankel's York success", The Guardian, 22 August 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-30.