Cheltenham winning jockey Gillies dies aged 22

Britain's jump racing community was on Tuesday mourning the death of Campbell Gillies, the 21-year-old jockey who rode a winner at the Cheltenham Festival this year.

Gillies was attached to the Lucinda Russell yard in Kinross, Scotland, and partnered the stable's Brindisi Breeze to his biggest win in one of Cheltenham's novice hurdles in March.

Russell posted on her official website: "We learnt this morning that Campbell died as the result of a swimming accident while in Kavos, Greece.

"Campbell was on a short holiday with one of our head lads, Mark Ellwood, and jockeys Nathan Moscrop, Henry Brooke and Harry Haynes.

"This dreadful news has hit the whole yard. He was a much loved, popular and respected member at Arlary, and it is so hard to lose part of our 'family'.

"His victory at Cheltenham on Brindisi Breeze was the pinnacle of his career; the race epitomised him as a jockey; his belief and confidence and his innate timing. He became one with the horse."

Champion jockey Tony McCoy wrote 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."

Gillies rode his first winner in the 2007-08 season and had 131 winners under his belt.

Last year was his best campaign to date with 38 winners and he was in action as recently as Sunday at Hexham.

His brother, Finlay, plays rugby for Glasgow Warriors and the club said in a statement: "Glasgow Warriors are deeply saddened to learn of the sad passing of Campbell Gillies, brother of Warriors hooker Finlay.

"The thoughts of everyone at Glasgow Warriors are with Finlay and his family at this terrible time."

Jockeys at the meeting at Beverley on Tuesday wore black armbands out of respect for the Scottish-based rider.

In a tragic twist Gillies' death follows that of the horse that made his name -- Brindisi Breeze -- who was killed last month in a freak accident when he escaped from his paddock and onto a road.
 

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