Trainers recall great days

Trainers who enjoyed success with Richard Hills were full of praise for the jockey after the announcement of his impending retirement.

Marcus Tregoning was among those who recalled the great days he shared with Hills and some of Sheikh Hamdan's Al Maktoum's best horses.

"We had some really good days, especially when Nayef won the Sheema Classic. The horse was flying that year in Dubai and in all Richard won four Group Ones on Nayef," said the Lambourn trainer.

"Another close association he had with another really good horse of mine was Mubtaker. He won six times at Newbury and Richard was on him for most of those. He was a really solid performer over a number of years and was very unlucky not to win the Arc. Richard has had a great time with the Sheikh's horses."

John Dunlop has trained for Sheikh Hamdan for many years and described Hills as "a most consistent stable jockey".

The Arundel trainer said: "He very kindly rang me from Dubai to confirm that he is going to retire at the end of the Carnival at the end of March prior to the English turf season. He has been the most marvellous, reliable, most consistent stable jockey you could possibly have. And a very nice young man, too.

"I'm glad to hear he's going to take some sort of role in Sheikh Hamdan's operation in future. I think the best he rode for me was probably Elnadim. He won the July Cup and was a top, top horse. Richard has done us very well over these years and I do wish him well in the future."

Mark Johnston was another trainer to thank Hills for his efforts, the jockey having steered Awzaan to victory in Sheikh Hamdan's colours in the 2009 Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.

The Middleham handler said: "We've had some great times with Richard. One of the highlights was Awzaan in the Middle Park. He's been a jockey we've done really well with and not just with Sheikh Hamdan's horses. He's a jockey we've tended to use and do well with.

"He's ridden some big winners for us at Ascot, so we've always got on well with him. He's an extremely good front-running jockey and that tends to suit our horses and I've always liked to use him at Ascot. We've had a great association with him and some great times."

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