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Henry Cecil - Trainer of Genius by Brough Scott

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Winner of the Horse Racing Book of the Year at the 2014 British Sports Book Awards.

The story of trainer Henry Cecil is one of the great redemption songs of sporting history - decades of success at the highest level followed by years in the professional and personal depths then a glorious resurrection topped by the unbeatable Frankel, widely considered the greatest racehorse of all time. 

Hollywood could not have scripted the tale better. Henry Cecil was the trainer who did not fit the mould - the shy, foppish figure who despite his aristocratic profile unleashed waves of popular affection previously unknown in Flat racing. The public loved Cecil, and he returned that affection with a bemused tilt of the head and self-effacing humour.Despite that self-deprecation, Cecil's record testifies to his being one of the greatest racehorse trainers in history, with 25 wins in English Classics to his credit including the Derby four times as well as countless other big-race victories around the world. 

But what made the figure of Henry Cecil so compelling was the extraordinary personality behind the records, and no one is better placed to chronicle the giddy highs and desperate lows of his story than Brough Scott. The former jockey and now leading sports journalist witnessed the Cecil genius at close quarters for decades, and tells the full story with honesty and candour as well as admiration and affection. This is one of the most gripping sporting stories ever told, and its cast list includes luminaries of the racing world such as Lester Piggott, Steve Cauthen and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, as well as equine heroes and heroines such as Kris, Oh So Sharp, Reference Point, Bosra Sham and the incomparable Frankel. 

The Henry Cecil story is an emotional rollercoaster. Stand by for an exhilarating ride.

Long-listed for the 2013 William Hill Sports Book of the Year.


"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 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

"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

"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

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