Ten-times champion racehorse trainer Sir Henry Cecil has died aged 70.
The influential Newmarket trainer had been suffering from stomach cancer since 2006 and died today (Tuesday 11 June).
“It is with great sadness that Warren Place Stables confirms the passing of Sir Henry Cecil earlier this morning,” read a statement on his website.
“Following communication with the British Horseracing Authority, a temporary licence will be allocated to Lady Cecil.”
During his career Sir Henry saddled 25 British Classic winners — including four in the Derby. He also had a record 75 winners at Royal Ascot.
Sir Henry started his career in 1964 as assistant to his step-father, Sir Cecil Boyd-Rochfort, before taking out his own licence in 1969. His first winner came on 17 May of that year, Celestial Cloud at Ripon.
In 1975 Sir Henry trained his first British Classic winner, Bolkonski who took the 2000 Guineas before going on to win the St James’s Palace Stakes and Sussex Stakes. Sir Henry suffered a slump in the late 1990s but in 2007 a win in the Oaks with Light Shift signalled a comeback.
And in recent years he was responsible for the world’s best racehorse, the mighty Frankel, who retired unbeaten last October after winning 14 races and nine Group Ones.
In 2011 Sir Henry was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Today tributes from the racing world poured in on Twitter for the popular trainer.
Roger Charlton: “Condolences to all Sir Henry Cecil’s family. He has been so brave and courageous fighting cancer for so long. Rest in peace Henry. #braveman”
Luca Cumani: “What sad news about Henry. A brilliant trainer and a brave man to have successfully fought the disease for so long. RIP Maestro.”
Johnny Murtagh: “A sad day for racing we have lost a true ambassador for our sport in Sir Henry Cecil privileged to have ridden for him #truegentleman”
Charlie Hills: “Very sad to hear of the passing of the great Sir Henry Cecil. Lucky enough to spend time with him and receive some of his pearls of wisdom”
Kim Bailey: “One of my greatest racing heroes Sir Henry Cecil. A real gent and a brilliant trainer. RIP”
David Pipe: “So very sorry to hear the news of Sir Henry Cecil’s passing — a legendary trainer and true gentleman. He will be missed by everyone in racing”
Kirsty Milczarek: “So very sorry to hear Sir Henry Cecil has lost his long battle, thoughts with Lady Cecil and his family at this time #sleeptightRIP”