Twenty-one-year-old National Hunt jockey Campbell Gillies has died while on holiday in Greece.
He was on holiday in Kavos, Greece, with friends including fellow jockeys Nathan Moscrop, Henry Brooke and Harry Haynes, when he died in a swimming pool accident.
The jockey, who was based in Scotland and rode for Lucinda Russell, had ridden 131 winners under rules.
A statement on Lucinda Russell’s website said: “He was a much loved, popular and respected member at Arlary House, and it is so hard to lose part of our ‘family’. Our hearts go out to his mother Lesley, brother and sister Finlay and Rita”.
Lucinda said: “We are immensely proud of the achievements of Campbell. It was through his innate ability and talent that he reached great heights as a jockey at such an early age. More than that he had a wonderful charm that I believe came across to everyone who met him, and through his media interviews.”
In March Campbell rode Brindisi Breeze to victory in the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival – the biggest win of his career.
“His victory at Cheltenham on Brindisi Breeze was the pinnacle of Campbell’s career – the race epitomised him as a jockey; his belief and confidence and his innate timing. He became one with the horse. This empathy and love of his horses was one of the reasons that he was a truly great jockey,” said Lucinda’s partner and assistant trainer Peter Scudamore.
Paul Brierley, Campbell’s agent added: “Campbell was one of the brightest talents in jumps racing, but to me he was also a very close friend on and off the track. He will be sadly missed. It’s a real tragedy to all connected to him in racing, and I will miss him greatly.”
Tributes to the jockey poured in on Twitter as news broke this morning (Tuesday 26 June).
Very sad news about Campbell Gillies a very good jockey but an even better bloke.All our thoughts are with his family RIP
— AP McCoy (@AP_McCoy) June 26, 2012
In complete shock to hear the awful news about Campbell Gillies, my thoughts go to his family and friends.
— Gordon Elliott (@gelliott_racing) June 26, 2012
Very sad news about Campbell Gillies, a very good rider & a lovely Fella. He will be sadly missed. All our thoughts are with his family RIP
— BarryJGeraghty (@BarryJGeraghty) June 26, 2012
I can’t believe it. You only have 1 best friend and now he’s gone. I’ll never forget you @campbellgillies , love you pal. xxx
— Zander Voy (@Zander_Voy) June 26, 2012