0

By Ray Fleming

Britain's greatest racehorse trainer, Sir Henry Cecil, died yesterday at the age of 70 after a long fight against stomach cancer. He trained his first Classic winner, Bolkonski, in the 1975 2'000 Guineas race at Newmarket and thereafter until his death an unrivalled number of big race winners emerged from his Warren Place stables, in Newmarket. But even for this consistently successful trainer, the pinnacle of his career, was to come at its very end when in 2010- 2012 he produced the magnificent Frankel to win all the fourteen races in which he ran. After Frankel's victory in his last race, the Champion Stakes at Ascot last October, Sir Henry called him “the best racehorse I have ever seen” and added, typically of this self-effacing man, “It was an honour to train him”. There were black armbands for the jockeys and silent minutes at racecourses in Britain yesterday. Next week ,is the Royal meeting at Ascot and it is probable that some form of tribute to him will be arranged. His record on that course is exceptional -- 75 winners, mostly of high stakes events, during his career, with no other trainer anywhere close to him. There were four Derby and four St Leger classic victories; he was particularly skilled in bringing on fillies, winning fourteen of their classic events, the Newmarket 1'000 Guiineas and the Epsom Oaks. He will be remembered.