Former top jockeys Michael Hills and Mick Fitzgerald have both joined the board of directors of the Professional Jockeys Association (PJA).

Mick Fitzgerald – who is part of the Channel 4 Racing broadcasting team – rode more than 1,300 winners. These include 14 at the Cheltenham Festival and the 1996 Grand National on Rough Quest.

Mick’s career came to  premature end when, in the 2008 Grand National, he suffered a serious injury to his spine and retired at the age of 38.

The Grand National-winning jockey said: “It is an honour to be asked to sit on the board of the PJA.  I hope to put my 20 years of experience in the saddle as well as my media work to good use. The PJA has an important role to play in the future of its members.”

Flat jockey Michael Hills’ career spanned across 4 decades, during which time he rode more than 2,000 winners.  Michael hung up his riding boots last year having ridden Group winners in Britain, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Hong Kong and the UAE.

Michael said: “The PJA does exceptionally valuable work on behalf of jockeys.  I hope my 30 years’ race riding experience will prove helpful as we continue to strive to improve the standing and the well-being of the Association’s members.”

The PJA was created to represent the interests of professional jockeys both on and off the racecourse.

The chairman of the PJA, Nigel Payne, said: “We have a well-balanced and extremely active board of directors.  We are very happy that two such distinguished retired jockeys as Mick Fitzgerald and Michael Hills have agreed to join the board.  Their wisdom and experience will prove invaluable.