By Sarah McCaffery
A promising young Scottish National Hunt jockey has died after a swimming pool incident in the resort of Kavos on Corfu.
21-year-old Campbell Gillies had success at this year’s Cheltenham Festival in March after riding Bindizi Breeze to victory in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. It marked a new high for not only Gillies but horse trainer Lucinda Russell whom Gillies had ridden for since 2007.
Born in Haddington East Lothian, Gillies attended the British Racing School and was associated with the Willie Amos trained Lie Forrit. His brother Finlay Gillies plays rugby union for Glasgow Warriors who said in a statement “The thoughts of everyone at Glasgow Warriors are with Finlay and his family at this terrible time.”
Gillies last rode on Sunday at Hexham and over his short career he has rode more than 50 winners for racehorse trainer Lucinda Russell of Arlay House, Kinross-Shire.
Scotland’s first minister, Alex Salmond, a well-known racing fan and pundit, said: “This is devastating news. Campbell Gillies, at the age of 21, had achieved extraordinary success, highlighted by his victory at this year’s Cheltenham Festival on Brindisi Breeze.”The loss of his outstanding talent is a huge blow, not just to racing but to Scottish sport and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”
A minute’s silence was held today at racing at tracks all around Britain and jockeys wore black armbands. Champion jockey Tony McCoy said on Twitter: ‘Very sad news about Campbell Gillies. A very good jockey but an even better bloke. All our thoughts are with his family RIP.’
A spokesman for the Injured Jockeys Fund said that they would be providing assistance to Gillies’ family and to his friends still in Corfu.