With only 2 more days until The Henry Cecil Open Weekend, I caught up with our popular Practical Gallery Interpreter Frank Conlon in the 'In The Saddle' gallery to talk about his days working for Sir Henry Cecil.
Frank moved to Newmarket in 1968 from the West Midlands and worked for Michael Jarvis. He then went to work for Bernard van Cutsem, who trained champion horses including Park Top and High Top. Frank rode out Park Top, who won the Coronation Cup, Hardwicke Stakes, King George VI, and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Prix Foy in 1969. During the same year, she was also 2nd in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe after being stuck behind a wall of horses.
Frank moved to Sir Henry Cecil's in 1971 where he looked after Sir Henry's first classic winner 'Cloonagh'. She won the 1973 Irish 1000 Guineas and the Pretty Polly Stakes. He was also Bolkonski's permanent rider, riding him every day. Bolkonski was Sir Henry's first English Classic winner when he won the 1975 2000 Guineas, ridden Gianfranco Dettori, father of Frankie! Sir Henry also won the 2000 Guineas the following year with Wollow and became the Champion Trainer for the first time.
Frank worked for Sir Henry for around 15 years and worked as a Travelling Head Lad for the last 7/8 years of those 15 years. During his time as Head Lad, he took many of Sir Henry's good horses racing on race days to the major courses like Ascot and York, where he would saddle them up and ensure each day went smoothly.
After these 15 years, Frank was asked by Sir Michael Stoute to be his Work Rider/ Travelling Head Lad. Frank then worked for Sir Michael for 7 years and rode out many good horses including the 1986 Derby winner Shahrastani and the 1990 Champion Hurdle winner Kribensis.
In 1992, Sir Henry's then asked Frank to move back to Warren Place to be his Head Lad and Work Rider. As Head Lad Frank lived at Warren Place for around 13 years. During his time there he was able to ride some great horses including Slip Anchor (the 1985 Derby winner), Oh So Sharp (the 1985 English Fillies' Triple Crown winner) and Le Moss (the Ascot, Doncaster and Goodwood Cup winner in 1979 and 1980).
Around the age of 67 Frank left Sir Henry's to work for the British Racing School as an assistant instructor for 7 years before moving to Palace House as a Practical Gallery Interpreter. Frank is now a valued member of the Museum team in our practical gallery enabling visitors to gain an insight into the world of horseracing
Commenting on the re-named Henry Cecil Open Weekend Frank said: "To have the Open Weekend in memory of Henry is great because Henry was a great fella, great trainer and great to his staff".
We would like to thank Frank for his help with this blog and hope you will come along, and join us at The Henry Cecil Open Weekend and explore what Newmarket has to offer.
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