Henry Cecil receives knighthood in the Queen’s birthday honours list

The newly knighted Henry Cecil and HM The Queen.
The newly knighted Henry Cecil and HM The Queen in much younger days. This is more how I remember dear Henry.

Wow, this is so exciting. Henry got a gong in HM The Queen’s 2011 Birthday Honours List.

Congratulations to the newly knighted Sir Henry Cecil. He is well worthy of the honour, a true gentleman, and stellar trainer.

I would not usually quote The Mirror, but found the BBC coverage wanting in the detail department.

A “thrilled” and “humbled” Henry Cecil last night spoke of his surprise at being granted a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday honours list.

The 10-time champion trainer, who won his 25th domestic Classic when Frankel demolished his opposition in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket last month, receives the accolade in recognition of his services to horse racing.

The Warren Place legend, the most successful royal Ascot trainer still operating with 72 victories, said yesterday: “I feel thrilled and quite humbled – I wasn’t expecting anything like that – and it’s a funny feeling.”

Looking back on a career that also includes four Derby triumphs (Slip Anchor 1985, Reference Point 1987, Commander In Chief 1993, Oath 1999), the 68-year-old added: “I’ve always tried to be competitive – I thought that if I became champion trainer then nobody could say I was useless.”

The racing world was yesterday united in welcoming the news of Cecil’s knighthood, considered by most within the sport to be long overdue.

“Everybody in the sport looks up to Henry Cecil,” said Frankie Dettori.

“He has achieved so much in racing but through it all has remained humble – he is a true legend.”

I cannot find the photograph I took of him on his paint at the bottom of Warren Hill, but the vintage image of Sir Henry and Her Majesty is very nice indeed. Sigh. What days. I wonder if he was still married to Julie then.

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