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Henry Cecil: Trainer of Genius [Paperback]

Brough Scott
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
RRP: £10.99
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Book Description

25 April 2014
Updated paperback edition of the racing book of 2013. For more than four decades the elegant, slightly foppish figure of trainer Henry Cecil had been adulated by racing fans. He handled countless top horses - his 25 English Classics include four Derby winners - and won dozens of big races around the world. But his story is far from a chronicle of unbroken success. A sharp downturn in his racing fortunes in the late 1990s was accompanied by all manner of personal trials, including well publicised marital problems and then cancer, but the dogged manner in which he has climbed back to the top was rewarded in 2011 by the presence in his Newmarket yard of the wonder horse Frankel. Based on extensive research and interviews with those closest to Cecil, it is shot through with Brough Scott's unparalleled inside knowledge of the sport.
Winner of the Horse Racing Book of the Year at the 2014 British Sports Book Awards.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Racing Post Books (25 April 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1909471402
  • ISBN-13: 978-1909471405
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Sir Henry Cecil has been a brilliant trainer of racehorses, a charismatic and complex man. Brough Scott's achievement has been to explain Cecil's genius and charisma without shying away from the more complex issues. The result is a wonderfully rounded portrait of one of the most endearing figures in British sport. --David Walsh, chief sports correspondent of the Sunday Times

This book is a triumph of its genre, and does full credit to both the writer and his complex but so thoroughly engaging subject. It should be required, and enjoyable reading, for both the casual race watcher and the most ardent student of the sport. --Channel 4 Racing

The story of Henry Cecil's life is what the whole world of racing has been waiting for. Brough's book is a masterpiece and does the maestro full justice. --Ian Balding, Derby-winning trainer

... a classic book about a classic legend. --The Independent

... a gem of a book ... Brough Scott has written a brilliantly sensitive, balanced and authoritative book --Robin Oakley, The Spectator

Scott's tour of Cecil's inner self is as fascinating as it is illuminating --Charlie Brooks, The Daily Telegraph

Brough Scott, the author, has done an excellent job in capturing this remarkable, but flawed, man. --Country Life magazine

This is by far the best book on racing I have ever read. It combines a truly extraordinary story one that no novelist would have dared to submit with brilliant writing by an author who is almost as knowledgeable about horses and the turf as his subject. It is a just tribute to a man who deserves to be admired beyond even his achievements. --Stoker Devonshire, The Spectator

It's a great story, well told. --Daily Racing Forum

This is by far the best book on racing I have ever read. It combines a truly extraordinary story one that no novelist would have dared to submit with brilliant writing by an author who is almost as knowledgeable about horses and the turf as his subject. It is a just tribute to a man who deserves to be admired beyond even his achievements. --Stoker Devonshire, The Spectator

It's a great story, well told. --Daily Racing Forum

About the Author

Brough Scott has covered racing for many years, broadcasting for ITV and Channel 4, as well as co-founding the Racing Post. Voted Best Racing Journalist of the Year 2010, he has written numerous books, including Of Horses and Heroes and Galloper Jack.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tribute to a genius 13 Nov 2013
By Laura
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a very thorough biography of a very talented and charismatic man. It includes the ups with the downs and is not afraid to include some parts which others may have omitted. It gives the whole history of the family, his upbringing and various misdemeanors on the way. A very entertaining and ultimately tragic story.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
I got this book initally for my mother who is a huge fan of racing. However, I couldn't resist reading it first. The adventures of the last two years with Frankel were pure heaven and I had real trouble putting the book down. I enjoyed the early chapters on Henry Cecil's background and childhood. It was fascinating to read about Cecil's early years in Newmarket then when he took over from his father-in-law. The author, Brough Scott, has clearly done his research. The photographs throughout the text and the colour photo sections bring the book to life. As the title implies, Brough Scott has written a fascinating portrait of a training 'genius'. Cecil is an exceptional trainer and this book confirms that. I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in racing. I might have to buy another copy for my mother!
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Account of an Extraordinary Man 9 Jun 2013
By ACB (swansea) TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I deliberated for some time before buying and reading Brough Scott's biography of Henry Cecil and his career. The reluctance of the champion trainer to endorse a book containing personal demons was the reason. Having said that, and understanding Cecil's feelings in digging up the dirt, Brough Scott has written the most comprehensive and honest book of a man who was born in a privileged world, yet strove to be a champion amongst champions. The personal issues are well-known. He has coped with them and his illness with dignity. Celebrity brings publicity and the author has handled this well within the context of the person who is Henry Cecil.

His background and introduction to racing were inevitable. His trainer step-father and royal trainer, Cecil Boyd Rochfort, and father-in-law, brilliant Irish trainer (Noel Murless) projected him into the spotlight. His marriage to Julie, Warren Stables, Bolkonski to Frankel, all befell him. A seemingly modest man of carefully chosen words, he embraced the advice of others. He had the best jockeys queuing for his horses. Joe Mercer, Piggott, Cauthen, Queally, all masters of their trade.

This book is a loving, forthright and balanced view of a complex man. His achievements are on record. The dip in his life and recovery are examples of tenacity and self-belief. 'The water closes over your head. It always does. It's like being dead'. When Henry witnessed Frankel's last victory in the Champion Stakes at Newmarket, his delight was obvious. So was the look on his face and short interview. Go out with the champion together.

The couplet (anonymous) but well-known in racing circles, would haunt Henry at Newmarket, but he inevitably moved on. Given the necessary equine material, courtesy of his wealthy owners, Henry can and does deliver.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best 9 Oct 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Like thousands of people, I loved Henry Cecil. He was a wonderful gentleman as well as the best trainer ever.
i bumped into him from time to time at races and sales, and he was unfailingly polite - sheer class. I spent a little more time with his brother David who was of course cut from the same cloth. Another lovely man.
I have little to add to the generally fullsome reviews I have just read, but agree that Brough Scott has done a brilliant job of telling the story and analysing the character with huge affection but without sycophancy. He handles the Julie/ Nathalie/Jane axis really well. As with Frankel, we will never see Henry's like again. Good luck to Jane. Scott's photo of her with Henry relaxing on the grass on the gallops brought tears to my eyes
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant Read 5 Jun 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
For everyone who loves horses and especially racing, I would class it as essential reading. Brough Scott writes with wit and a great knowledge of his subject ( rather too much, I suspect from Henry Cecil's point of view)?!
I am enjoying it immensely, and love remembering all the wonderful horses and jockeys of years gone by.
Buy it now!.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book 16 May 2013
By Boomer
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Good book truthfully written. Reveals just what a genius of a trainer and a successful person this man has been.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well researched, excellent biography. 14 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Thoroughly enjoyable, informative book about Henry Cecil, about his training successes and defeats and more interestingly, about overcoming major problems in his life.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brough Scott give up the cheap shots!! 2 Jun 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I remember some years ago when Natalie found out I was learning to ride horses in conversation at a garden centre I used to work at. Some days later a phone call from Natalie was to change my life, Sir Henry gave me a retired horse name Double Dagger. So Mr. Scott, try using good things to sell your book and not the bad times we all go through in life.

Apart from the above this is a great book to read. Sir Henry Cecil is not a trainer, when it comes to horses he is a Genius!! He is also a man so well liked in Newmarket and in many ways a very humble man. I remember my ageing mum tell me that a man rushed to hold the door open for her at Tindals our paper shop in Newmarket. She was so supprised as there are so many trainers that feel they would be a class too high to carry out such a kindly action.

Sir Henry, thank you for all the pleasure you have given so many people watching the horses you trained to win! and thank you for sharing such an interesting life with us.

Best Book of Year.
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