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Sir Henry Cecil

Born: 11 January 1943

Nationality: British

First Winner as Trainer: Celestial Cloud (1969)

British Classic Wins: 25

Irish Classic Wins: 6

Notable Horses Trained: Cloonagh, Bolkonski, Wollow, Slip Anchor, Oh So Sharp, Diminuendo, Reference Point, Commander In Chief, Bosra Sham, Reams of Verse, Sleepytime, Wince, Light Shift, Twice Over, Midday, Frankel

Career History

With six decades in the training game, Sir Henry Cecil was one of horse racing's legends, but the world of racing lost one of its most loved figures in the middle of 2013 as the master of Warren Place sadly lost his battle with cancer and there was a hole left in the training ranks.

A stepson of former champion trainer Sir Cecil Boyd-Rochfort, who he worked for as an assistant between 1964 and 1969, Cecil embarked on his own training career in 1969 and it wasn't long before the British trainer had notched up his first Group One success.

Wolver Hollow's win in the 1969 Eclipse Stakes at Sandown was just a taste of what was to come from Cecil as he continued to train top notch flat horses that went on to big race successes.

However, it was four years later that Cecil tasted Classic success in Ireland as Cloonagh bagged the Irish 1000 Guines, but it wasn't until 1975 before Cecil stamped his mark on the English Classic scene.  Ridden by Frankie Dettori's dad Gianfranco, Cecil trained Bolkonski, who won the 2000 Guineas, a race he would also win a year later with the classy Wollow.

This just ignited Cecil's Classic career and he went on to win a plethora of 1000 and 2000 Guineas before finally winning the Epsom Derby with Slip Anchor in 1985.

Cecil was renowned as a master trainer of fillies and it shows in his record as he has bagged six 1000 Guineas successes as well as a staggering eight victories in the Epsom Oaks.

Throughout the 1990's Cecil was at the pinnacle of the sport and he bagged yet more Derby glory with Commander in Chief, who won both the English and Irish Derbies in the 1993. 

Before the turn of the century Cecil had bagged an astonishing ten leading trainer titles, before suffering a lull in his career in the new Millennium.

The Group winners began to dry up in the 2000's and Cecil's career looked to be on the decline and the news broke in 2007 that Cecil was undergoing treatment for stomach cancer which had an obvious strain on his training career.

However, he bounced back in style in 2007 when there were emotional scenes at Epsom as Light Shift stormed to glory in the Epsom Oaks and truly rejuvenated the Warren Place handler and gave him a new lease of life in the training ranks.

Cecil was back and he instantly reignited his career and the introduction of the Prince Khalid Abdullah-owned duo Twice Over and Midday certainly showed he was back in the big time, but there would be one horse who made Cecil a well known trainer round the world, and that was the mighty Frankel.

Cecil had unearthed a monster, who was destined for great wins and Frankel sent shockwaves through the horse racing world.  Now widely regarded as the best race horse of his generation, Cecil was ebullient when exclaiming that Frankel was the best horse he had ever trained and he showed that when storming to glory in the 2000 Guineas and then improving to win the Sussex Stakes by five lengths in 2011 and going on to be unbeaten throughout his stellar career.

However, as Frankel's career came to an end it was Cecil that was also reaching the end of his marvellous innings and he sadly passed away just before the 2013 Royal Ascot extravaganza, but the legacy he left behind will be that of legendary status and he will be regarded as one of the most loved people in the sport.

Other Leading Flat Trainers

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Sir Michael Stoute

Richard Hannon

Dermot Weld