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Tributes pour in for Sir Henry Cecil, who died this morning

11 Jun 2013

One of the greatest ever trainers, this morning Sir Henry Cecil lost his long battle with cancer. He will forever be remembered for his brilliance and intuition in preparing horses for hugely successful careers, none more so than Frankel.

Sir Henry Cecil, 1943 – 2013. Image courtesy of racingfotos.com

Sir Henry Cecil, one of the greatest racehorse trainers the world has ever seen, died this morning aged 70 after a long battle with cancer.

He will forever be remembered for his brilliance and intuition in preparing horses for hugely successful careers, none more so than Frankel. 

He masterminded the perfect career of the best horse of the modern era and perhaps of all time, bringing the curtain down after three sensational seasons on QIPCO British Champions Day last year when Frankel won the QIPCO Champion Stakes.

Unbeaten after 14 races and with the highest World Thoroughbred Ranking of all time, there is no doubt that the inspiration Sir Henry found in that mighty thoroughbred helped him through many bouts of chemotherapy as he courageously battled the disease.

He leaves his wife, Lady Jane Cecil, who did so much to help and support him through his battle and she will take over a temporary trainer’s licence at his historic Warren Place stables.

A statement on his website today read:

"It is with great sadness that Warren Place Stables confirms the passing of Sir Henry Cecil earlier this morning.

"Following communication with the British Horseracing Authority, a temporary licence will be allocated to Lady Cecil. No further update is anticipated this afternoon."

He also leaves three children from his first two marriages, Katie, Noel and Jake.

Tributes have been flooding in from all over the world for the trainer who saddled 25 British Classic winners, was crowned UK champion trainer 10 times and trained a record 75 winners at Royal Ascot.

He also came back from several years of few winners and a declining number of horses in his yard to scale the heights once again – a remarkable achievement in itself.

Rod Street, Chief Executive of British Champions Series and Great British Racing, said:

“We were desperately shocked and saddened at the news of Sir Henry’s death so our thoughts and condolences are with Lady Cecil, his family and friends at this very difficult time.

"Sir Henry has made a huge contribution to British racing over a great many years so his death will be a big blow to the sport and its legion of fans.

"His unique talents as one of Britain’s greatest racehorse trainers, epitomised by his successes with Frankel, have played a major part in growing the sport’s profile around the world, for which we will be forever in his debt.

"Sir Henry should also be remembered for his care and compassion, his sense of fair play, his sense of humour, his love of life and his quintessential Englishness.

"He will be greatly missed.”

Steve Cauthen, the brilliant Amercian jockey who rode for him in the 80s, said: "It’s a great loss to the sport and to everybody who knew him. he was such a great guy – different, special, a genius.

"He had a great sense of humour. He was a super intelligent guy and really knew how to place his horses.

"He tried to have fun. The atmosphere during most of the time I was up at Warren Place was just fantastic.

"It was all due to him. It was a team effort but everyone looked to him. He was the one making decisions about where to run the horses.

"The way he trained was great and the way he placed them was fantastic. He was a special trainer.

"He went through a rough patch but he came back. To have a horse like Frankel and finish off his career when he wasn’t in great health was incredible.

"He did a perfect job in making Frankel the horse he was."