Gillespie pays tribute to rising star Gillies
CAMPBELL Gillies would have romped to many more Festival winners, believes Edward Gillespie.
Scotsman Gillies died yesterday following an accident on holiday in Corfu.
The East Lothian-born jockey would have turned 22 today.
Gillies rode Brindisi Breeze to victory in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.
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And Cheltenham Racecourse managing director Gillespie feels Gillies would have had plenty more days to savour ahead of him at Cheltenham.
Gillies won his first race in the 2007/8 season and went on to rack up 131 successes in Britain.
A popular figure in the weighing room with a huge future ahead of him, Gillies has been the subject of tributes from across the racing world.
Gillespie said the very fact Gillies earned the trust and respect of top trainers Lucinda Russell and Peter Scudamore confirms his impressive ability – and also the rich potential that he had.
Gillespie explained: "To impress Lucinda Russell and Peter Scudamore in the way he did was an absolute credit to his personality and his abilities as a jockey.
"He was only just at the start of his career really, and could have looked forward to many more successful days like his victory at the Festival this year. I did not know him too well, but I have only ever heard good things about him.
"And as I said, to win the respect and trust of that calibre of trainer just speaks volumes about his commitment. Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family and friends for what is just a tragedy beyond imagination."
Professional jockeys association chief executive Paul Struthers paid tribute to a popular and respected professional.
He lamented: "Campbell was a very popular member of the weighing room and was immensely well liked by his colleagues.
"His riding career was beginning to flourish and he had a great future ahead of him in horse racing.
"It is so tragic that he has lost his life at such a young age when Campbell had so much more to look forward to."