Like father, like son as Hills Jnr peaks early


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The Independent Online

It is, presumably, in the genes. On Saturday afternoon and evening, Barry Hills signed off from his 42 years as a trainer by saddling two winners, including his last runner, One Lucky Lady. Yesterday afternoon and evening, his son Charlie, his successor at Faringdon Stables near Lambourn, made the change of hands on the reins absolutely seamless by saddling two winners, including his first runner, Blaise Chorus.

That filly, who had run unplaced in the Oaks earlier in the summer, was 11-4 favourite to take a fairly ordinary maiden race at Kempton. And backers of the dream start never had a moment's worry. Another of the Hills racing dynasty, the new trainer's older half-brother Michael, negated his wide draw by driving to the front and grabbing the inside rail before a furlong had been covered and drew away in the home straight to win by five comfortable lengths. A few hours later he was also on board debutante Cockney Dancer who, at 9-2, edged out hot shot Ladyship in the opener at Windsor.

A delighted Hills Jnr, 32, was accorded a warm reception from racegoers at both venues. "Dad was out in the yard this morning and wished me good luck," he said. "I thought the first horse would run well – she's had a few chances in better company – and it was great to get off the mark. We were only hopeful about the other filly, but we've always liked her. It's been a great day."

Hills the jockey missed Hills Snr's last winner – he was riding at York that day – so he was particularly pleased to have been part of yesterday's seminal moments. "I'm hoping that they will be the first of many for Charlie," he said.

William Hill were swift to cash in on yesterday's perfect start for the new name on the licence by offering odds about Hills Jnr, who served as his father's assistant for the past eight seasons, bringing the operation further elite success sooner rather than later, going just 10-1 against a British or Irish Group One victory for the Berkshire stable next year.

Turf Account

* Chris McGrath's Nap

Mundana (6.20 Yarmouth)

Won last time under a firm but considerate ride and there is surely more to come.

* Next best

Kylesku (7.00 Warwick)

* One to watch

Massive three-year-old sprinter York Glory (Kevin Ryan), a winner at York on Saturday, still looks ahead of his mark.

* Where the money's going

Strong Suit is Hills' 5-2 favourite for Saturday's Celebration Mile at Goodwood.