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Henry Cecil: Trainer of Genius By Brough Scott

Release date: 14th April, 2013
Publisher: Racing Post

List Price: 20.00
Our Price: 12.80
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It's a pity that two of British racing's high-profile figures, Sir Henry Cecil and Brough Scott, appear to be at loggerheads following the publication of Scott's outstanding biography of the sport's greatest trainer.

This is no rapidly-assembled, 'kiss-and-tell' tome (although Cecil's input is conspicuous by its absence), but a warm, thoroughly engaging tale of Sir Henry's rise, fall and subsequent redemption.

"Such tales," asserts Scott, "are the hot coals around which racing people warm their hands on winters' nights." However, there is no requirement for readers to be drawn solely from the millions of racing fans to appreciate Cecil's compelling story; this is a captivating sporting tale which will appeal to anyone interested in sport and the human condition.

Refreshingly, Scott has spurned the easy option - of recounting Cecil's triumphs in chronological order before declaring his subject a genius. The author clearly appreciates the unique bond Cecil enjoys with his horses, but success has not necessarily always been a given and Scott explores the period when the trainer appeared to be washed up.

The barren years, when his touch deserted him, were also times of great personal heartache for Sir Henry who encountered both marriage and serious medical problems. Perhaps these are the areas of the book from which he wished to distance himself, but to omit them would be to detract from the admiration Scott has for his subject's successful return. It's his long, bleak years in the wilderness which make Cecil's subsequent glory days such a triumph.

A story in which a fight back is central to the narrative is invariably more compelling than reeling off a list of winning horses trained by the great man.

Removing passages which focus on Cecil's darker times would have made for a much duller, blander biography. Thankfully, they remain and once the likes of the outstanding Frankel are added to Sir Henry's tale, we begin to understand just how far the man has come and acknowledge not only his sporting prowess but also his fighting spirit.


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