Tributes pour in for horse racing legend Henry Cecil

The 10-time champion trainer has died after a long battle with cancer. He was 70.

Tributes pour in for horse racing legend Henry Cecil

Former stable jockey Steve Cauthen hailed Henry Cecil as a “genius” following the legendary trainer’s death on Tuesday morning.

Cecil lost his long battle against stomach cancer at the age of 70, prompting a deluge of tributes to the master of Warren Place.

Responsible for 25 British Classic winners and crowned champion trainer 10 times, Cecil was also the leading handler by some way at Royal Ascot with a record 75 successes.

Knighted by the Queen in 2011, his later years were illuminated by the great Frankel, officially the best horse in the world and unbeaten in 14 starts before retirement.

Cauthen enjoyed six memorable and highly successful years as stable jockey, including many Classic triumphs and the Triple Crown success of the filly Oh So Sharp in 1985.

“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 told Press Association Sport.

“We had six great years together. The first year we had an amazing run when Slip Anchor won the Derby and Oh So Sharp won the Triple Crown for fillies.

“There were many others – Old Vic who won the French and Irish Derby, Reference Point, Indian Skimmer – there were so many of them.

“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.”

Racing will remember Cecil with a minute’s silence before each of the four meetings today, the British Horseracing Authority has confirmed.

Cecil enjoyed immense success at his home track in Newmarket, saddling no less than nine Guineas winners at the circuit during his career.

A statement read: “Everyone at Newmarket Racecourses is hugely saddened to hear the news that Sir Henry has passed away and our thoughts are very much with Lady Cecil and all of the family.

“He was a much-loved gentleman of our sport and his winners were always hugely well received at both the Rowley Mile and the July Course.

“In total, he had no less than nine 2000 and 1000 Guineas winners – more than any other trainer from the modern era.

“These successes, along with the many others he had at the highest level, will ensure he is remembered as one of the greats of his profession.

“Those of us at Newmarket Racecourses were lucky enough to regularly come into contact with Henry and his kindness and willingness to help were greatly appreciated by us all.

“Only earlier this spring, he attended a meeting to offer his thoughts and advice regarding our race programme.

“We, like so many others, will miss him very much and will never forget just how much he contributed to the sport of racing, not least here at Newmarket Racecourses.”

Royal Ascot takes place next week and Cecil dominated the meeting like no other.

Johnny Weatherby, Her Majesty The Queen’s representative at the track, said in a statement: “It is very sad to hear of the loss of Sir Henry Cecil this morning.

“He has been an intrinsic part of racing and Royal Ascot for the whole of his career.

“No one had more success at the meeting and his 75 winners are a long way clear of anybody else.

“Our thoughts are with his family at this moment and they will be throughout the whole of next week.”

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