If his horses are unwitting in their own loss, their unceasing demands may yet prove as useful as any words of consolation for those who were closest to Sir Henry Cecil. The trainer's grieving staff have had no choice but to maintain the daily routine, filling mangers and mucking out and all the rest of it; and his widow, Jane, has been given a temporary licence to ensure that all this activity retains some kind of purpose – precisely when it must seem most futile. Even in the broader Turf community, it is hard enough to face up to life without him. But the horses insist upon it. And, by slow degrees, each broken heart will ultimately see the wisdom implied in their animal ignorance.
So it is that Lady Cecil is today listed as trainer of five runners from Warren Place – including one who will poignantly evoke the consummation Cecil contrived, even as he fought the disease that finally claimed him on Tuesday morning. Morpheus, a half-brother to the great Frankel, has yet to learn how to channel his own energies but the form he showed when second at Goodwood last time qualifies him as the one to beat in a maiden at Nottingham.
The stable jockey, Tom Queally, returns to his native Ireland to partner Tickled Pink in a Group Three sprint at Leopardstown this evening. Her success in a similar contest at the Craven meeting, in her first start outside maiden company, reiterated her trainer's particular dexterity with fillies.
Likewise the belated but spectacular debut at Salisbury last month of Songbird, who makes a rather shorter journey for a handicap at Yarmouth in the colours of Sir Robert Ogden. The owner's racing manager, Barry Simpson, considers this filly a fitting symbol of Cecil's gifts. "I think Songbird typifies Sir Henry's great understanding and patience with his horses," he said. "She was very backward and Sir Henry didn't want to run her at two or three. I think a lot of trainers would have done so, and she might never have won a race. But Sir Henry had a lot of faith in her, took his time – and she won first time out, as a four-year-old, very well."
The Warren Place team also dispatches two daughters of Galileo to Newbury. Phaenomena and Rajaratna represent one of Cecil's most faithful patrons, the Niarchos family.
A private funeral will be held in Newmarket on Monday week, with a memorial service to follow at a later date. It meanwhile remains to be seen what arrangements will be made at Warren Place in the longer term, but Mike Marshall is considered eligible for any responsibility after impressing as assistant trainer since his arrival from Godolphin in 2007.
Cecil's loss will be felt anew next week at Royal Ascot, where his career record of 75 wins is the best in its history. But the meeting did receive an unexpected tonic when Dawn Approach figured among the acceptors for the St James's Palace Stakes on its opening day.
Jim Bolger, his trainer, had promised only that the 2,000 Guineas winner would be "worth waiting for" after finishing tailed off as hot favourite for the Derby only 12 days ago. Not for the first time, however, Bolger pulled a rabbit out of the hat when describing Dawn Approach as an intended runner on Tuesday, assuming he satisfied in his work this morning.
Bolger has never been diffident about keeping his best horses busy, and is evidently confident that this one will resume his previous profile as a very laid-back type once restored to a mile. A gamble on Dawn Approach's stamina at Epsom backfired when he refused to settle off a very slow early pace. But Simon Crisford, manager of the colt's co-owners at Godolphin, confirmed that Bolger had "been delighted with how relaxed Dawn Approach has been in his training."
The decision sets up a thrilling showdown with Magician, impressive winner of the Irish Guineas. Coral favour the Ballydoyle colt at 6-4, with Dawn Approach 7-4 and Toronado 9-2. Magician's stablemate, Stubbs, was chalked up as 7-2 favourite for the Coventry Stakes on the same card.
Chris McGrath's Nap
Henry The Aviator (8.20 Haydock) Shaped well over a sharp 7f on his turf debut last week and can build on that now back up in trip.
Drahem (2.40 Yarmouth) Well backed to win her debut at Redcar last month and she has been given a corresponding rating.
One to watch
Brown Sugar (Richard Hannon) was the outsider of three runners for his stable in a juveniles' maiden at Newmarket on Saturday but finished much the best for second.
Where the money's going
Animal Kingdom is 8-11 from 5-6 with Coral for the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot on Tuesday.Reuse content