Young jump jockey Campbell Gillies has died in an accident just a day before his 22nd birthday. He was on holiday in Kavos, on the Greek island of Corfu. No details have emerged yet as to precisely what happened, but his agent Paul Brierley said, "At the present time, all I can say is there has been an accident."
Gillies had ridden 131 winners since he started riding in 2006, with more than 50 of them coming for Lucinda Russell. It was the ride he gave Brindisi Breeze in this year’s Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham that best showed his potential. The pair made virtually all in the Grade 1 contest and Gillies himself had said that this was the ride that stood out in his memory.
First to pay tribute was weighing room colleague Alexander Voy, who tweeted, “I can’t believe it. You only have one best friend and now he’s gone. I’ll never forget you @campbellgillies, love you pal xxx”
The two had shared their love of racing from school days, when they had bunked off together to watch Best Mate winning his third Gold Cup on the television.
Towards the end of last season his best with 38 victories, Gillies had completed a National Trainer’s Federation Q and A session, where the “Just for Fun” question was, "If you could have any superpower, what would it be?" Gillies’ answer was "To be indestructible. I think all jump jockeys would want that.”
He managed that on the racecourse, but sadly, and all too soon, it wasn’t the case off the track.