Tuesday, 7 April 2009



Congratulations Sir Henry Cecil
Henry Cecil has been hailed a "monumental man" following the announcement of his knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.

TV pundit John McCririck believes the award is vastly deserved for the 68-year-old handler following his sparkling 40-plus years in the training ranks.

A four-time Derby winner and eight times successful in the Oaks, Cecil has sent out a total of 25 Classic winners, including this year's 2000 Guineas hero Frankel.

"It is so well deserved. Henry's record speaks for itself and he is a monumental man," said McCririck.

"The good thing about Henry is he doesn't have any PR agencies involved, there are no press statements, he doesn't seek to glorify his achievements.

"He must be the only man who can answer a question with a question. He always asks the hacks their opinions but of course he ignores their advice!

"He just has an innate sense when it comes to racehorses and the public love him as they know they will always get a run for their money from his horses.

"Of course it has not all been smooth for him, he had a quiet spell and has had health problems but he has never complained and never sought sympathy for his troubles.

"He's a throwback to a different era and exemplifies so much of what is good in the English people.

"It is also a tribute to Khalid Abdullah and the other owners who have stood by him during the rough times and are being rewarded for their loyalty now.

"Just imagine the reception if Frankel can win the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot (on Tuesday)."

McCririck also believes the honour will strike a special note with the Queen, following a memorable year in which her colt Carlton House finished third in the Derby.

"Her Majesty must also take some delight from this honour, this year of all years after Carlton House's run in the Derby," he added.

"Her Majesty always does a fine job at the knighting ceremonies and takes care to gen up on who has done what with notes from her staff but I'm sure she will not need any help for Henry!"

Cecil remains his usual calm self in the face of the excitement in the racing world and believes the accolade will not change him.

"I would like to thank everyone involved in giving it to me," he told Sky Sports News.

"It was a surprise and I feel almost numb. It was a funny feeling and I can't really describe it - it's a good feeling.

''I don't think it will make any difference (being called Sir Henry). All will be the same and I hope people will treat me the same as well."

Some of Cecil's colleagues in the training ranks have taken to Twitter to offer their congratulations.

Fellow Derby-winning trainer Roger Charlton tweeted: "Hats off and many congratulations to Sir Henry Cecil on his knighthood."

Ed Dunlop, who is also based in Newmarket and has saddled an Oaks winner, added: "Many, many congratulations to the governor, fully deserved for all he has done for our industry."

James Fanshawe, another whose team in based at Headquarters tweeted: "Brilliant news Henry got his knighthood. No one deserved it more. His achievements are exceptional. Well Done."

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