Sir Henry Cecil says he is “hurt” and “upset” by the contents of a new biography written by veteran journalist Brough Scott.
Cecil issued a statement to explain why he would not be signing copies of the new Racing Post-published book, Henry Cecil: Trainer of Genius, which is released today. The legendary trainer will not be endorsing Scott’s new tome as he feels the concept of the book was changed without consultation.
He told www.sirhenrycecil.com: “Over the years I have been asked by countless people, including Brough Scott, if they could write my biography. As there have been some unhappy and difficult phases in my life, for the sake of my family, especially my children, I have always said no.
“However, when Brough Scott visited me the year before last and told me that the Racing Post wanted him to write a tribute book about my training career in the same style as the Tony McCoy book [that he edited] I agreed, albeit with reservations.”
Cecil, who is receiving treatment for stomach cancer, added: “I made it very clear to Brough Scott that it was not to include certain areas of my life. I do not like to look back and prefer to look to the future. With horses to train and my ongoing treatment, I explained to Brough Scott that I did not have the time to go through the history of my training career. To assist him with the necessary research Brough Scott was therefore given a huge amount of access to my family, friends and staff – both old and current.
“At no point did Brough Scott explain to me that the concept of the book had changed to include some unhappy and difficult phases in my life that I had told him to leave and that I would have to trust him to tell the story as best he could.
“If Brough Scott had come to me to explain this change I would have undoubtedly withdrawn my cooperation and I am sure my family and friends would have followed suit. Brough Scott would also not have continued to enjoy the unparalleled access he had to Warren Place and [former stable star] Frankel.”
Scott feels his book has done justice to the Newmarket handler, although he was “disappointed” to hear of Cecil’s dissatisfaction. He said: “I’m disappointed and sad. If you read the book, it is an admiring, affectionate, but realistic, portrait of an extraordinary man, who has enjoyed an exceptional career.”
Ballabriggs, winner of the 2011 John Smith’s Grand National, has been retired after being pulled up in the latest renewal of the world’s greatest steeplechase.
Owner Trevor Hemmings and trainer Donald McCain decided after lengthy discussion it was best to call time on the 12-year-old’s career.