RACING: Sport mourns trainer Hills

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: John Hills John Hills

BARRY Hills has been granted a temporary licence by the British Horseracing Authority to take over the running of Kingwood House Stables in Lambourn following the death of his son, John, on Sunday.

John Hills, 53, who was diagnosed with cancer in the spring, was the eldest of veteran trainer Hills' five sons and brother of former jockeys Michael and Richard and trainer Charlie Hills. He married Fiona in 1987 and was the father of four daughters.

Hills senior officially retired in 2011.

The BHA tweeted: "Barry Hills granted temporary trainer's licence with immediate effect to take control of yard previously under the care of John Hills.

"A minute of applause will be held at all racecourses with fixtures today to celebrate the life of John Hills.

"Thoughts of all at BHA remain with the Hills family and everyone at Kingwood House Stables at this time."

John rode 21 winners himself, including the Moet & Chandon Amateur Riders' Derby at Epsom, and learned his trade as a trainer working for Edward O'Grady, Harry Thomson-Jones, John Gosden and then for his father.

Hills took out a licence in 1987 and 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. He moved to Kingwood Stud in 2013 and was responsible for a number of horses owned by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum.

Another favourite was dual Group Two winner Crimson Tide, who ran in the colours of music mogul Chris Wright.

Charlie, his half-brother and now a top trainer, said: "I couldn't have wished for a better older brother and I'll miss him immensely.

"He was always so much fun to be around, extremely clever and witty.

"He had time for everyone and saw the best in everyone. He was a very talented trainer and we were all so proud of his achievements.

"Jessica, Olivia, Martha and Issie were a huge credit to him and Fiona and I can't begin to explain how much we will miss him as a family."

George, Charlie's brother and John's other half-brother, tweeted: "He put up a big fight for the girls. Devastated. We're going to miss him."

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 him 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."

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