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Queally to heap further honours on 'Sir Henry'

Plenty has been made of Henry Cecil receiving a knighthood last week.

The racing world welcomed what is seen as an overdue honour, with many pointing out that he has long been referred to as 'Sir Henry', be it mischievously or mistakenly.

Reserved and eccentric, the well-to-do handler with the common touch is currently in the midst of a remarkable renaissance.

Tomorrow, Frankel will bid to supply him with his 73rd winner at Royal Ascot in the St James's Palace Stakes. Tom Queally, who steers the equine sensation, will be in search of his second at the royal meeting. The Waterford-born rider won't be recognised on the queen's birthday list any time soon, but his own revival warrants a mention.

Amazingly, it is now 11 years since Queally was crowned champion apprentice, days after his 16th birthday. The precocious youngster's star went into decline soon after.

Following a spell at Ballydoyle and with anonymity looming, Queally quit Ireland in 2003 after riding just 11 winners that year.

In his first season in England, he rode 66 to add the British apprentices' title to the one he had achieved here four years earlier.

Tom Queally had become an overnight sensation all over again. He maintained his new-found momentum to ride the first of three successive centuries in 2008.

In 2009, the 20/1 shot Art Connoisseur earned him a first Group One triumph in the Golden Jubilee at Royal Ascot. He rode four further top-level wins that term, more than any other British-based rider, a feat he replicated last year with seven majors.

It was also in 2009 that Queally's role as Cecil's stable jockey grew legs. Even then, when the nine-time champion trainer was still only at the foot of the hill looking up at the great heights he had once scaled, there was no finer distinction for a Flat jockey.

For Cecil to deem Queally worthy was an accolade all of its own. Nonetheless, the rider quietly went about his business, just as he has done on Frankel. Arguably one of the most exciting racehorses ever seen, Frankel has so far shared the limelight with his trainer. Queally's skill and uncomplicated riding style, though, have been pivotal in facilitating the fractious three-year-old's dominance.

Last year he held him up, but in the 2,000 Guineas he gave him his head to devastating effect. It remains to be seen what tomorrow holds for Frankel but, whatever happens, his jockey is unlikely to be the one attracting the headlines. That's never a bad thing.

Training performance

of the weekend

James Barrett's feat with Lake George at Limerick on Saturday.

Barrett recorded a famous Pierse Hurdle coup with Barker in 2008, but lean times forced him to take a break from the game in 2009. The Carlow-based handler had his first runners for over two years last month, while Lake George's triumph was his first since Barker's moment of glory at Leopardstown. The horse hadn't run since October, when he turned in three efforts that were void of any promise. On his debut for Barrett on Saturday, he made every post a winning one under Rory Cleary.

Ride of the weekend

Adrian Nicholls on Inxile at Cork yesterday.

Inxile was bidding to make it three from three on Irish soil this term in the Listed sprint at the Mallow venue. Nicholls seized the initiative from the start, maximising the favourite's pace to excellent effect. He got all the early fractions right, and had a willing partner when he asked for more inside the last couple of furlongs. It was a forceful performance by Nicholls that earned Inxile his fifth win here in all.

The Irish in America

No luck for the Ballydoyle runners in New York on Saturday night. Master Of Hounds laboured home in 10th behind shock winner Ruler On Ice in the Belmont Stakes, the third leg of the American Triple Crown, while Viscount Nelson was also well beaten on the undercard.


@martinjlane -- "horse rushed forward on him in the stalls last nite broke six ribs fractured a collarbone and crushed his shoulder blade" -- Last season's British champion apprentice explains to Ger Lyons what happened to the well-known stalls handler Steve 'Yarmy' Dyble at Leicester on Saturday evening.


200,000 -- what yesterday's Roscommon winner Table Mountain cost new trainer Robbie Hennessy in Guineas when he purchased the ex-Ballydoyle inmate at the sales in October.

Irish Independent