Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Henry Cecil dies at age 70
By Ron Mitchell
Sir Henry Cecil, one of the most prominent international horse trainers over the last four decades, died June 11 at age 70.
A statement on Cecil's website June 11 states: "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 license will be allocated to Lady Cecil," the statement on Cecil's website said. "No further update is anticipated this afternoon."
The self-effacing Cecil, who was respected by his peers and well-liked by the racing public, won the British training title 10 times and was the all-time leading trainer at Royal Ascot with 75 winners. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2011.
Cecil was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, on Jan. 11, 1943, six weeks after his father, a member of the Parachute Regiment, was killed, according to the Racing Post. Cecil was raised at the Freemason Lodge of his stepfather -- five-time leading British trainer Sir Cecil Boyd-Rochfort -- and was an assistant to his stepfather until Boyd-Rochfort's retirement in 1968 at age 81. Cecil took out his license in 1969.
Cecil won his first classic in 1973 when Cloonagh took the Irish Two Thousand Guineas and took his first British classic with Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) winner Bolkonski two years later.
Among Cecil's many accomplishments were saddling four winners of the Epsom Derby -- Slip Anchor, Reference Point, Commander in Chief, and Oath -- and winning the Epsom Oaks eight times.
He also won the prestigious One Thousand Guineas six times, the Two Thousand Guineas three times and the St. Leger four times.
Additional top-class horses trained by Cecil included Twice Over, Beat Hollow, Bosra Sham, Royal Anthem, Chester House, and Dr Fong.
In addition to his British success, Cecil won six classics in Ireland and three in France.
In the U.S., Cecil saddled Juddmonte Farms' Midday to win the 2009 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
After revealing that he was suffering from stomach cancer in 2006, Cecil went on to achieve the greatest training feat in his career with the deft management of Juddmonte's Frankel, the world's top-ranked horse when he was retired last year after winning all 14 of his starts.
Cecil, who was the uncle of Southern California-based trainer Ben Cecil, is survived by his wife, Jane, and three children -- Katie, Noel, and Jake.