For many with a deep-rooted enthusiasm for Flat racing, there can only be one winner of this year’s Vodafone Oaks.
Should Passage Of Time – or indeed highly-progressive ’second string’ Light Shift – manage to provide legendary Newmarket trainer Henry Cecil with an unbelievable eighth victory in the Epsom Classic, the story of the season would be written already and she would be cheered with as much vigour by those who hadn’t backed her as those who had.
For Henry Richard Amherst Cecil is one of the most popular and greatest handlers of racehorses of this, or any other era. A phenomenal 10 champion trainer titles and 23 British Classic winners are the tip of the iceberg, with his 70 victories at Royal Ascot not in danger of being eclipsed any time soon.
However, it is not only his victories on paper that matter, it is the fervent support he draws from the general public. Cecil, with his dapper Hermes ties, Gucci loafers and self-deprecating personality, is loved far more than Sir Michael Stoute or Aidan O’Brien will ever be.