'He was a singular human being.' Biography pays tribute to horse racing trainer Henry Cecil

PUBLISHED: 14:57 25 March 2019

Tony Rushmer, author of The Triumph of Henry Cecil. Picture: TONY RUSHMER

Tony Rushmer, author of The Triumph of Henry Cecil. Picture: TONY RUSHMER

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A sports journalist, who worked closely with one of Newmarket’s best known horse trainers, has published a book on the life of Henry Cecil that tells of personal and professional bravery.

Tony Rushmer wrote The Triumph of Henry Cecil about Newmarket's legendary horse trainer. Picture: TONY RUSHMERTony Rushmer wrote The Triumph of Henry Cecil about Newmarket's legendary horse trainer. Picture: TONY RUSHMER

Tony Rushmer tells of a man who had a genius touch when it came to horses and people.

Through unrivalled access over seven years, in which he saw Cecil at the best and worst times, the book allows a fresh perspective on an incredible part of the trainer’s career.

“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,” according to a Sunday Times review of authorised biography, The Triumph of Henry Cecil.

Told with compassion, love, honesty and insight, the book tells how when 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.

Cecil himself was then diagnosed with NonHodgkin lymphoma in June 2006.

However, behind the scenes, the master of Warren Place in Newmarket was determined not to be labelled in his own 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 Rushmer, a sports journalist, who became a trusted stable insider after being asked in 2006 to help with the trainer’s website and PR.

He remained part of the team until Cecil died in June 2013.

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.

Rushmer has been a journalist for 25 years, covering a wide range of sports for national newspapers and magazines.

Having established his own PR business in 2005 he has been directly involved in the racing industry, working for clients like Newmarket Racehorses, York Racehorse, Sir Henry Cecil and Juddmonte Farms.

He lives in Ely.

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