Saturday 20 January 2018

Trainer Charlie Hills hails brother Michael as he retires as jockey

Nick Robson

CHARLIE Hills has had no thoughts as yet about a new stable jockey after his brother Michael announced he will retire at the end of the current campaign.

The 49-year-old has ridden over 2,000 winners and signs off just months after his twin brother Richard decided the time was right to call it quits.

Hills won the 1996 Derby on the William Haggas-trained Shaamit and was champion apprentice in 1983.

Among the best horses he rode were Royal Applause, trained by his father, Barry, and Pentire who won the King VI And Queen Elizabeth and Irish Champion Stakes.

The likes of La Cucaracha, First Island, Handsome Sailor and more recently Equiano also helped keep Hills at the top of his profession.

Hills rode Just The Judge to victory in the Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday for Charlie and his younger brother will be sad to see him go.

"It's the end of an era," said Hills.

"It's very sad but all good things must come to an end.

"I had an idea that he was thinking about it but it was still a shock when he told me.

"Michael just feels it's the right time to go, but I think he proved on Saturday that he's still got what it takes.

"I'm really glad that Just The Judge won, more so now than ever. To win on a day billed Future Champions Day and for him to go at the top was great.

"She's a really smart filly too, Michael feels she's one of the best he's ridden and he's ridden some good ones.

"We've always thought she was very good and she proved it. We can dream of the Guineas through the winter with her.

"I won't know who'll be riding her, though, I haven't given next season any thought whatsoever yet."

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