Tributes are being paid to young jockey Campbell Gillies who has tragically died following an accident while on holiday.
He secured the biggest win of his racing career on Brindisi Breeze in the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival this year.
The 21-year-old jump jockey, rode over 50 winners for Lucinda Russell, including Brindisi Breeze, had ridden as recently as Sunday at Hexham before going on holiday to Kavos, Greece, on Monday where the tragedy occurred. He was due to turn 22 on Wednesday 27.
He had gone on holiday with Mark Ellwood, one of Russell's head lads, and jockeys Nathan Moscrop, Harry Haynes and Henry Brooke.
Winner of 131 races under rules in Britain, the jockey enjoyed his best ever campaign in 2011-12 with 38 winners, and had ridden four winners so far this season.
Lucinda Russell and Peter Scudamore spoke of being "immensely proud" of Campbell Gillies, and their sadness at the news of the death of the young jockey.
Lucinda said: “We are immensely proud of the achievements of Campbell. It was through his innate ability and talent that he reached great heights as a jockey at such an early age. More than that he had a wonderful charm that I believe came across to everyone who met him, and through his media interviews.”
Peter added: “His victory at Cheltenham on Brindisi Breeze was the pinnacle of Campbell's career; the race epitomised him as a jockey; his belief and confidence and his innate timing. He became one with the horse. This empathy and love of his horses was one of the reasons that he was a truly great jockey.”
Paul Struthers, Chief Executive of the Professional Jockeys Association, said: “We are shocked by the incredibly sad news of the death of Campbell Gillies and the thoughts of all jockeys and everyone at the PJA are today immediately with Campbell’s family and friends.
“Campbell was a very popular member of the weighing room and was immensely well liked by his colleagues.
“His riding career was beginning to flourish and he had a great future ahead of him in horse racing. It is so tragic that he has lost his life at such a young age when Campbell had so much more to look forward to. We are liaising closely with the Injured Jockeys Fund who are on standby to provide any support that is required.”
Paul Bittar, Chief Executive of the British Horseracing Authority, said: “We are deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic news that Campbell Gillies lost his life in an accident while on holiday in Kavos.
“Campbell was a young, talented and popular rider. At only 21 he had established himself as one of the rising stars in Jump racing and enjoyed his first Cheltenham Festival winner this year. Sadly this tragic accident means that his outstanding potential will remain unfulfilled.”
26 June 2012