Cecil saddled eight winners of the race between 1985 and 2007 and with the 2014 renewal being the first since the trainer’s death last year, officials have decided to pay tribute by running the race as the Investec Oaks (In memory of Sir Henry Cecil) for one year.
Oh So Sharp was Cecil’s first winner in 1985 followed by Diminuendo (1988), Snow Bride (1989), Lady Carla (1996), Reams of Verse (1997), Ramruma (1999), Love Divine (2000) and Light Shift (2007).
Lady Cecil, trainer and widow of the late Sir Henry Cecil, said: “I was delighted when I heard that Epsom wanted to celebrate Henry’s life and career by staging this year’s Investec Oaks in his memory. The Oaks is the Classic in which Henry enjoyed the greatest success with a total of eight victories. They were all special to him, but I can vividly recall his immense pleasure when Light Shift won the race in 2007 for the Niarchos Family. That was such a wonderful day for Henry and everyone at Warren Place.”
Andrew Cooper, head of racing and clerk of the course at Epsom said: “We are honoured to announce that the Investec Oaks has been named in memory of Sir Henry Cecil for this year’s renewal. His record in this race was exceptional, and few present will ever forget the emotion generated following his 2007 win with Light Shift.”
At Huntingdon yesterday, Emma Lavelle’s Mosspark maintain his unbeaten record under Rules by outstaying his rivals to win the Listed StanJames.com Sidney Banks Memorial Novices’ Hurdle. Wins at Exeter and Leicester this season had already marked the six-year-old down as an above average recruit but he was supposed to find this a bit tougher up against Alan King’s Carraig Mor, who was sent off the odds-on favourite. However, the market leader ran too keen in the hands of Robert Thornton and having taken up the running down the back straight, Aidan Coleman shot up his inside on the final bend and pulled well clear.
Spirit Of Shankly stayed on better than Carraig Mor to claim second, five lengths away from the 9-2 winner. Lavelle’s partner Barry Fenton told Racing UK: “He has an entry for Cheltenham (Albert Bartlett). I’m still not saying he’s going but if he hadn’t run today, then we definitely couldn’t go. He was impressive.”