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The Triumph of Henry Cecil: The Authorised Biography

Tony Rushmer

7 Reviews

Rated 0

Biography: sport, Horse racing

The inside story of how master trainer Henry Cecil achieved the greatest comeback ever seen in the sport of horseracing.

'A wonderfully insightful, detailed and emotional biography of the legendary trainer's later years' Racing Post

'[Cecil's] is a remarkable story and it has now been told with compassion, love, honesty and wonderful insight by Tony Rushmer' David Walsh, Sunday Times

With a foreword by John Gosden

When Henry Cecil sent out just 12 winners in 2005 it seemed as if the 10-time champion racehorse trainer's career was in terminal decline. The masterly touch that he'd shown through the glory-days of the two previous decades appeared to have deserted him after a series of painful professional and personal blows, including the death of his twin brother David.

When Cecil was diagnosed with cancer in June 2006, it would have been enough to break many a man. But behind the scenes, the master of Warren Place in Newmarket was determined not to be labelled - in his words - a 'has-been'. Showing an iron resolve to fight for his professional reputation as well as his life, Cecil staged one of the great sporting comebacks. It was a story that captured the imagination of the racing public and beyond, peaking with his supreme handling of the unbeaten champion Frankel.

Cecil's astonishing revival was witnessed in close-up by Tony Rushmer. The sports journalist became a trusted stable insider after being engaged in spring 2006 to help with the trainer's website and PR. He would remain part of the team right up until Cecil died in June 2013.

Rushmer's unique access over seven years - in which he saw Cecil at the best and worst of times - allows him to provide a fresh perspective on an incredible part of the trainer's career. He is helped by many of those who were closest to the story, having interviewed numerous people during his extensive research.

Containing fascinating detail and a wealth of new material, The Triumph of Henry Cecil shows how Cecil emerged from his slump, displayed relentless strength in the face of a cruel disease and trained the magnificent Frankel - as brilliant a racehorse as the sport has ever known.

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Praise for The Triumph of Henry Cecil: The Authorised Biography

  • Henry Cecil was a great trainer of racehorses but that is not the reason he will be remembered. He was also a singular human being, with the emphasis on human. Close to his lowest ebb, he was diagnosed with cancer. It was up to him how he reacted to that. What happened over the following seven years is the stuff of heroism, one's man battle with terrifying adversity and a triumph greater than anything achieved during the halcyon years of his career. His is a remarkable story and it has now been told with compassion and love and honesty and wonderful insight by Tony Rushmer. The story of Cecil's last years and his training of Frankel, the greatest racehorse we've seen, needed to be properly told. Now, it has been. - David Walsh, chief sports writer, the Sunday Times

  • Henry Cecil was a great trainer of racehorses but that is not the reason he will be remembered. He was also a singular human being, with the emphasis on human. Close to his lowest ebb, he was diagnosed with cancer. It was up to him how he reacted to that. What happened over the following seven years is the stuff of heroism, one's man battle with terrifying adversity and a triumph greater than anything achieved during the halcyon years of his career. His is a remarkable story and it has now been told with compassion and love and honesty and wonderful insight by Tony Rushmer. The story of Cecil's last years and his training of Frankel, the greatest racehorse we've seen, needed to be properly told. Now, it has been - Sunday Times

  • The complications of a trainer's life are vividly depicted in The Triumph of Henry Cecil, a biography of the ten times champion trainer's latter years, especially his handling of the superstar Frankel, by stable insider Tony Rushmer. You won't find a better chronicle of the ins and outs of the training life - Spectator

  • 'A new book full of insights into Cecil and his final years' - Guardian

  • 'An emotive biography' - Yorkshire Post

  • 'Brilliant insightful biography of a racing great' - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

  • 'Rushmer has succeeded in shining a light on a seven-year period when Cecil, in Kipling's words, met with triumph and disaster, treating those two imposters just the same. Frankel's career is well documented, but Rushmer has deftly detailed the symbiotic relationship between Cecil and the horse which was to define his life . . . For all those enthralled by the legend that is Sir Henry Cecil, Rushmer's book represents a new chapter in a story which will be forever woven into a racing tapestry as lush as the turf on the Heath which the man made his own' - Newmarket Journal

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Tony Rushmer

Tony Rushmer owns a sports PR business and is also a freelance writer on horseracing, football and golf. He has contributed to many national newspapers and magazines over the last 25 years. Henry Cecil was a client of Tony's from June 2006 until he died in June 2013.

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