Hills set to retire at end of Dubai Carnival

Richard Hills has announced he will retire from race-riding next month after a career spanning 33 years.

Hills, retained first jockey to owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum since 1997, is to hang up his saddle for the last time on Dubai World Cup night at Meydan on March 31.

The 49-year-old is currently in Dubai, and issued a statement through his British agent John Robertson.

Hills said: “It has been my privilege to ride for Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum as first jockey for the last 15 years and previously as second jockey to W (Willie) Carson for two years.

“No jockey could have ridden for a more loyal and supportive owner.

“I was very fortunate to start my career with a great man in Tom Jones and without him much of what I have achieved would not have been possible.”

Hills rode five British Classic winners for Sheikh Hamdan, taking the 1000 Guineas on Harayir (1995), Lahan (2000) and Ghanaati (2009).

He won the 2000 Guineas on Haafhd in 2004 – like Ghanaati trained by his father Barry – and the Oaks on the Michael Jarvis-trained Eswarah in 2005.

In 1999, Hills won the Dubai World Cup on the Saeed Bin Suroor-trained Almutawakel.

Hills had the first of more than 1,840 domestic winners on Border Dawn at Doncaster in October 1979 and soon rose to prominence, being appointed Sheikh Hamdan’s second jockey in 1995.

He had already landed his first Group One win in those famous blue and white silks on Ashal in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in 1990.

His other major victories included four Group One races on the Marcus Tregoning-trained Nayef – the 2001 Champion Stakes, the 2002 Dubai Sheema Classic, the 2002 Juddmonte International and the Prince of Wales’s Stakes in 2003. He also won the last-named race on Mtoto in 1987.

A renowned judge of pace, two of Hills’ best front-running performances came in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot when providing big shocks on Maroof in 1994 and Summoner in 2001.

He also won the St Leger at Doncaster in 1999 on Mutafaweq for Godolphin and enjoyed success at the top level in Canada, France, Germany and Italy.

Hills is a member of the famed Hills dynasty. His twin brother is fellow jockey Michael Hills, their father is the retired trainer Barry Hills while brothers John and Charles are both trainers. Paddy Power make Silvestre de Sousa. 7-2 favourite to replace him as Al Maktoum's no.1 jockey.

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