How many times did Sir Henry Cecil win the 2,000 Guineas?
The late Sir Henry Cecil, who died of cancer aged 70 in June, 2013, was one of the most successful trainers in the history of British Flat racing. After working as assistant trainer to his stepfather, Cecil Boyd-Rochfort, Cecil took out a training licence in his own right in 1969. He won the first of his 25 British Classics with Bolkonski, ridden by Gianfranco Dettori, father of Lanfranco ‘Frankie’ Dettori, in the 2,000 Guineas in 1975 and the second with Wollow, ridden by the same jockey, in the same race in 1976.
Cecil won the Flat Trainers’ Championship ten times between 1976 and 1993 but, thereafter, suffered a truly monumental fall from grace. The death of several influential owners and a public disagreement with Sheikh Mohammed led to his once-powerful string dwindling away and, for many years, success at the highest level became the exception, rather than the rule. Indeed, Cecil owed his survival in the training ranks to the loyalty of Khalid Abdullah, owner of Juddmonte Farms.
It was only fitting that, in 2011, Frankel, bred and owned by Juddmonte Farms and trained by Cecil, produced one of the greatest performances ever seen on a British racecourse when making all to win the 2,000 Guineas by six lengths. His third win in the Newmarket Classic propelled Cecil back to the top of his profession and he went on to enjoy his most successful season for a decade; he was knighted for services to horse racing in the Queen’s Birthday Honours that year.