“Nothing goes on for ever, but at the start many wondered if Henry Cecil would go anywhere at all. His has been the most gripping racing story ever told, because the career which he brought to a climax with Frankel has the quality that only the Gods can bestow.” Brough Scott
The story of trainer Henry Cecil is one the great redemption songs of sporting history: decades of success at the highest level followed by years in the professional and personal depths – then a glorious resurrection topped by the unbeatable Frankel, widely considered the greatest racehorse of all time. Hollywood could not have scripted the tale better.
Henry Cecil was the trainer who did not fit the mould: the shy, foppish figure who despite his aristocratic profile unleashed waves of popular affection previously unknown in Flat racing. The public loved Cecil, and he returned that affection with a bemused tilt of the head and self-effacing humour.
Despite that self-deprecation, Cecil’s record testifies to his being one of the greatest racehorse trainers in history, with 25 wins in English Classics to his credit – including the Derby four times – as well as countless other big-race victories around the world.
But what made the figure of Henry Cecil so compelling was the extraordinary personality behind the records, and no one was better placed to chronicle the giddy highs and desperate lows of his story than Brough Scott. The former jockey and now leading sports journalist witnessed the Cecil genius at close quarters for decades, and tells the full story with honesty and candour as well as admiration and affection.
This is one of the most gripping sporting stories ever told, and its cast list includes luminaries of the racing world including Lester Piggott, Steve Cauthen and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, as well as equine heroes and heroines such as Kris, Oh So Sharp, Reference Point, Bosra Sham and the incomparable Frankel.
The Henry Cecil story is an emotional rollercoaster. Stand by for an exhilarating ride.
Henry Cecil: Trainer of Genius is published by Racing Post Books priced £10.99. It is available from www.racingpost.com/shop and all good bookshops.