Horse trainer HENRY CECIL, "one of the greatest Flat trainers of the post-War era and the man who masterminded Frankel’s 14 race unbeaten career," has died at age 70, according to Marcus Armytage of the London TELEGRAPH. He "had been fighting stomach cancer" since '07. Though Cecil's illness "had been the backdrop to the three seasons during which Frankel dominated the sport, he appeared indomitable." Every time he was written off, "he bounced back so his death still came as a big shock to the racing world." Racing Manager LORD GRIMTHORPE said, "His story is not only the most remarkable sporting one, it’s one of the most remarkable human stories. He enjoyed great success, a period in the wilderness and then climbed back up the greasy pole" (TELEGRAPH, 6/11).
50 YEARS OF RACING: In London, Andy Stephens reported Cecil "had been part of racing's rich fabric for almost half a century and was one of the industry's most respected handlers." The adoration of the public "was absolute." They "loved him for his skill, the bond he had with his horses, his emotion, quirky mannerisms, dry sense of humour and vulnerability." There was also "his self-deprecating nature and very English passion for roses." He won 25 domestic classics, including the Derby on four occasions, and "saddled a record-breaking 75 Royal Ascot winners." But "for all the great horses to pass through his care, the best was saved until last as Frankel demolished everything put in his path." There "were low moments, too." SHEIKH MOHAMMED removed all of his horses from Cecil's Warren Place yard in '95 and then, four years later, there was "the acrimonious split and subsequent out of court settlement with his then retained jockey" KIEREN FALLON. But Cecil "overcame his trials and tribulations and bounced back." Jockey TOM QUEALLY was his first jockey and "was aboard Frankel for each of his wins." Queally: "They don't make people like him anymore. He was a brilliant, brilliant trainer and a great man. Every other trainer aspires to be like him and no other trainer will come close" (LONDON TIMES, 6/11).
A HUMBLE MAN: In London, Chris Cook wrote on the Guardian's Talking Sport blog that "habitually self-deprecating, he often gave the impression in post-victory interviews that he had had very little to do with it and this was just another very talented horse which happened to have turned up in his stable." It was "surely one of the traits that so endeared him to the racing public but he also found it a convenient way to deflect media attention." Training "is a taxing job, even for a young person in perfect health, but the extent to which Cecil was coping with the debilitating effects of his condition and its treatment was made clear to racegoers at York last August." Appearing in public for the first time in two months, he "walked with a cane, kept his head covered with a black trilby and spoke in a croak" (GUARDIAN, 6/11).
Triple F1 world champion SEBASTIAN VETTEL "will stay with Red Bull until the end of 2015," according to Garloff & Bach of SPORT BILD. The team of Red Bull Owner DIETRICH MATESCHITZ "has reached an agreement" with the 25-year-old. Vettel's contract, which is set to expire in '14, "will be extended for another year." Red Bull "declined to comment on the report." Vettel said with a smile, "I don't talk about contracts" (SPORT BILD, 6/11).
National Rugby League side Gold Coast CEO DAVID MAY "has sensationally quit" less than a year after joining the club, citing personal reasons. Club co-Owner DARRYL KELLY will step in as interim CEO "until a permanent replacement is found" (SMH, 6/11). ... Int'l Ski Federation (FIS) Men's World Cup Chief Race Dir GÜNTER HUJARA "will step down from his position in '14." However, Hujara "will continue to work for FIS on a part-time basis and take care of projects such as safety aspects and support the organizing committee of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games." Hujara will be replaced by 49-year-old Italian MARKUS WALDNER, who has been FIS' Continental Cup coordinator since '98. Women's Speed Event World Cup Race Dir JAN TISCHHAUSER will also step down at the end of the '13-14 season (NEUE ZÜRCHER ZEITUNG, 6/10).
COACHES: Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala said that coach GUUS HIDDINK "will extend his contract for a year" (AP, 6/11). ... Austrian football Bundesliga club Admira Wacker "has terminated the contract with head coach" DIETMAR KÜHBAUER. The 42-year-old, "who had a contract until June 30, 2014, took over the club in April '10" (KURIER, 6/11). ... Former La Liga side Atlético Madrid coach QUIQUE SANCHEZ FLORES "is going back to Spain" after quitting UAE side Al Ahli on Tuesday "to become the latest high-profile departure" from the UAE's Pro League. He "had been widely expected to sign a new two-year contract, having led Al Ahli to second place in the league this season" (REUTERS, 6/11). ... Scottish Premier League Kilmarnock coach KENNY SHIELS "has left Kilmarnock with immediate effect by mutual consent." The departure of the 57-year-old Northern Irishman "comes as no surprise following days of speculation about his future." Killie finished ninth in the Premier League, "but a four-match ban handed to Shiels last week following outspoken media comments -- two of which were suspended -- was also taken into consideration by the club" (PA, 6/11). ... Premier League Sunderland has appointed Italian duo ROBERTO DE FANTI and VALENTINO ANGELONI as its new director of football and chief scout, respectively. The pair "have worked together previously on player recruitment at both Udinese and Inter Milan." De Fanti "takes on a newly created role at the Stadium of Light" (BBC, 6/10).
Cameroon Football Federation President and Cameroon Cotton Development Corporation CEO IYA MOHAMED "was arrested by the police on Monday on his return home from Togo where he attended Sunday's Cameroon's World Cup qualifier" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 6/11). ... Former FC Barcelona coach ENRIQUE ORIZAOLA VELÁZQUEZ died Monday at the age of 91 in Santander, Spain (SPORT, 6/10).
The AP's ROB HARRIS: "Limited success & impact for Euro U21s tournament in Israel with low attendances. Harder for Israel to get bigger games like Europa final"
BBC Five's JOHN HUNT: "Flags at half mast @lingfieldpark out of respect for Sir Henry Cecil" (with picture, left).
Málaga's ISCO: "Vergonzoso,lamentable,injusto que nos mire a nosotros(Málaga cf)de una forma completamente distinta que a otros equipo con muchas mas irregularidades y deudas,una vez mas el fútbol demuestra que cada día se mueve por los intereses de los que predigan el fair play, otra vez Nos quitan lo que nos ganamos en el campo!ni jugadores ni afición se merece esto! No tengo mas que decir" ... ("Shameful, pathetic, unfair that they treat us completely differently to other teams with a lot more (financial) irregularities and debts. Yet again they are taking away what we won on the pitch. Neither the players or the fans deserve this")