A Mentor writing about a Hero

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Sir Henry Cecil, trainer of Frankel and all the rest, has died. I’ve read about him, seen him from afar, watched his exploits, respected his style, cherished his legacy. Oh, I wish I had a story, an anecdote, a moment with the man. The closest I ever came to the legendary trainer was getting Cecil to personalize three Frankel books – one for a friend who searches for a Frankel, one for my sister-in-law who fell in love with Frankel from afar and one for my father who ingrained the notion of Frankel when I was a kid. Cecil’s signature curls across the page. I guess, I should have gotten one for myself.

Like most of the racing world, when I need a final tribute, a final word on anything in British racing, I turn to the Racing Post and my old friend, Alastair Down. A friend in words, I’ve never met him, it is he who I read when I sit down on the flight home from Cheltenham. Saturday morning, seven days later, sometimes skint, sometimes fresh, always changed, his words put the final bracket on my great escape.

I’ve read his words about Best Mate’s third Gold Cup, his words about Kauto Star’s farewell, his words about JT McNamara’s heartbreaking fall. I’ve read his words about the young and valiant, the old and defiant, the weak and the strong.

Today, Alastair Down writes about Sir Henry Cecil. Slow down, sip your coffee, walk into Cecil’s rose garden and appreciate a life well lived. It’ll make you want to be better – a better horseman, a better writer, a better person. Read it here.