THESE scenes of unbridled joy on Ladies’ Day at the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival would have earned the approval of the Sir Henry Cecil as York paid its own tribute to this giant of the turf who was proud to describe the Knavesmire as his “second home” because of his affection for the historic racecourse.
A heavy shower was shrugged off by the 22,000 crowd as they watched Yorkshire-born William Haggas saddle the first to home in the inaugural Sir Henry Cecil & EBF Galtres Stakes courtesy of Queen Of Ice and Arabian Comet.
It also saw the York executive announced plans to commission a set of wrought iron gates in memory of Sir Henry.
They will be erected by the new trainers’ entrance which is being built as part of the ongoing £10m improvement to the Northern End. The gates will carry Sir Henry’s initials – HRAC – as well as a Yorkshire rose in recognition of his devotion to his rose garden at his Warren House stables in Newmarket when not saddling horses like the incomparable Frankel.
Sir Henry died in June last year, but his widow Lady Jane is proving to be an accomplished trainer in her own right and will seek a second successive win in Saturday’s Betfred Ebor with Retirement Plan and the well-backed Mighty Yar who will be ridden by the one and only Frankie Dettori.
“Henry loved racing at York and enjoyed many great days at the course,” said Lady Jane.
“It is lovely that York is celebrating his career with the Sir Henry Cecil gates.
“The plans look great and it is amazing to think that the same blacksmith who works on York Minster has created Henry’s gates.”