sport

John Hills passes away

Lambourn trainer John Hills has died at the age of 53.

A member of the famous racing dynasty as the son of Barry Hills and brother to jockeys Richard and Michael and trainer Charlie, he saddled approximately 700 winners since taking out a licence in 1987.

Hills enjoyed notable success as an amateur rider, winning 21 races including the Moet et Chandon at Epsom and learned his trade as a trainer working for Edward O'Grady, Harry Thomson-Jones, John Gosden and then for his father.

Under his own steam, the best horses he trained were classy middle-distance performer Broadway Flyer and Wind In Her Hair, who won the Group One Aral Pokal in Germany and was also the dam of Japanese sensation Deep Impact.

He also handled smart miler Docksider, who landed the 1999 Hong Kong Mile when the race was run as a Group Two contest.

It was known in recent weeks within the racing community that he had been suffering from ill health. Hills married Fiona in 1987 and was a father to Jessica, Olivia, Martha and Isabella.

Several of Hills' fellow trainers expressed their sadness via twitter and Kim Bailey said: "Dreadful news on the death of John Hills. Far too young. All out thoughts go out to the Hills family."

Ed Vaughan said: "Sad to learn of the passing of John Hills, a gentleman and always great fun to be around. Thoughts and condolences go out to his family."

Senior jockey Steve Drowne said: "Very sad news regarding John Hills, the end came so quick. Rest in peace."

Shelley Birkett, the apprentice who rode four winners for Hills during 2013, said: "So sad to hear of the passing of John Hills, great man to ride for who helped me out a lot. Thoughts are with the Hills family."