Hills’ perfect start

Charlie Hills - picking up where Dad left off


The transition from father to son was seamless. Just 43 hours and 5 minutes after Barry Hills signed off with a winner on Saturday night, his son Charlie was standing in the winner's enclosure at Kempton celebrating success with his first runner as a trainer.

Blaise Chorus won a maiden fillies race, and to enhance the family joy she was ridden by the trainer's brother, Michael. Making the most of her experience, Blaise Chorus was quickly out of the stalls and made all for a comfortable five length victory, justifying her place at the head of the market.

There was plenty of support for the rookie trainer. He said, "My dad was out this morning with the horses and he wished me good luck. Mum just rang and she sounded a bit emotional. It was fantastic for Michael as unfortunately he missed out on riding dad's winners on Saturday."

Jockeys were quick to congratulate him, with brother Michael naturally leading the way. As the two hugged each other after the race, Michael said, "I hope that's the first of many." Both Ted Durcan and Richard Hughes said well done, and Charlie's phone was bleeping for some time with messages of congratulations.

Hills though, was not resting on his laurels, and he and brother Michael were quickly off to the evening meeting at Windsor. Here they partnered up with Cockney Dancer, a two-year old filly by Cockney Rebel, and she danced home at the very reasonable odds of 9/2 in the field of 16 runners. In truth, Cockney Dancer was the only serious contender to the well bred Ladyship, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, and she took the opportunity to overturn the odds on favourite.

A 20/1 double with his first two runners made it a day to remember for Charlie Hills, and there will be many more to come. Clear evidence that the stables at Faringdon Place are set for several more years in which they'll be turning out winners. Hills senior, meanwhile, repaired to his local in the company of Nicky Henderson, where they no doubt toasted the new boy’s success in proper style.