Turf united in grief and affection after the death of legendary Newmarket trainer Sir Henry Cecil

Minute's silence held at meetings after10-times champion trainer loses long battle with cancer

The fact that it could hardly come as a particular shock in no way diminished the grief that united the British racing community following the death of Sir Henry Cecil at the age of 70. The trainer of more than 3,000 winners, 25 in British Classics, has never been respected more than during his fight with cancer since 2006 – not least for his masterly training of Frankel during that time. But the tributes across the sport testified unanimously to still deeper bonds of affection.

Cecil's longstanding rival, Sir Michael Stoute, put it well. "I do not believe this country has ever produced a better trainer than Henry," he said. "I know there has never been one so loved."

The stable jockey at Warren Place, Tom Queally, also stressed the breadth of his late employer's gifts. "He was a great trainer and an even greater person," Queally told Racing UK. "Everything about him was class. Every other trainer aspired to be like him but nobody will even come close. Everyone throughout the industry will feel his loss, because they don't make them like him any more. He had a great empathy with his horses, and he was a people person. Racing has lost a real gem."

As BBC commentator, Sir Peter O'Sullevan described many of Cecil's defining moments. "As a trainer he was best described by Jim Joel [an owner with Cecil] as a man with green fingers for horses," O'Sullevan said. "That was a perfect definition of his amazing empathy. It was such a happy fact of his life that Frankel should come into it when he did. It was not just a happy association for him, but also for Frankel. They were simply made for each other."

Steve Cauthen's six years at Warren Place coincided with a golden spell for both trainer and jockey, beginning with four out of five Classics in their first season together in 1985. "He was such a great guy: different, special, a genius," the American said. "He had a great sense of humour, he was super intelligent and really knew how to place his horses. He tried to have fun. The atmosphere most of the time I was at Warren Place was just fantastic. He went through a rough patch [later] but came back. To have a horse like Frankel 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."

Another in a sequence of jockeys to become champion in Cecil's service was Pat Eddery. "He was a genius," he told At The Races. "He was never overpowering, an easy person to get on with. His horses were amazing. He worked them hard but they always produced."

Mick Kinane corroborated that view as he recalled his 1993 Derby success on Commander In Chief. "He had a great way of making you feel at ease even when the stakes were high," he said. "His horses were always like the man himself: straightforward, easy to deal with, they were always very genuine and would do their utmost for you, just like he would. It was fitting he ended up with Frankel, when he faced his biggest battle himself."

The current champion jockey, Richard Hughes, remembered being shown the Warren Place roses when he expected a tour of the horses. "His strength was he didn't get too technical," Hughes said. "Some read speed figures and form books, but he wasn't like that: he trained his horse, and didn't mind what was in the race as if they were good enough, they would win."

 



Light Shift's success for the Niarchos family in the 2007 Oaks was Cecil's first Classic since 1999 and Alan Cooper, racing manager to the owners, was heartbroken at the news. "He's been a good friend and a very good teacher," he said. "And he has been so brave throughout all this, never complained once."

Cecil's widow, Jane, is to be granted a temporary training licence to keep the Warren Place stables operational. Jockeys at today's meetings rode in black armbands, and a minute's silence was observed.

News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Associate Recrutiment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence