Name – Campbell Gillies
Occupation – Professional Jockey
Years involved in racing – 2006 to present
First horseracing memory – Best Mate winning his 3rd Gold Cup. Both myself and Zander Voy were meant to be at School, but we ended up watching the Gold Cup!
What first stirred your interest in horseracing?
My Grandad trained pointers in the borders.
How did you become involved in the jockey side of horseracing?
My Grandad again, he has horses with Willie Amos and he took me to the yard and that’s when I wanted to be a jockey.
Career to date
Proudest moment of career to date?
Brindisi Breeze and Lie Forrit. I can’t split them as Brindisi Breeze was my first festival winner and Lie Forrit won at Cheltenham for my family.
Which race that you personally rode in stands out in your memory and why?
Albert Bartlett on Brindisi Breeze, as he made virtually all to win a Grade 1, a sign of a very good horse.
Which race do you wish you could relive and ride again (good or bad)?
Aintree when Lie Forrit unseated at the second last and I got injured, he would have won easy.
In the saddle
Most enjoyable aspect of being a jockey?
Riding winners for the owners and seeing their faces when a horse wins.
How much ‘homework’ do you undertake before each race?
Both myself and Paul Brierley, my agent, discuss all races either the night before or on phone on the way to races.
Which area of race riding do you consider to be the most important?
Positional sense, you need to know what is going on around you, sometimes Plan A becomes Plan B.
How thoroughly do you analyse your own performance after the race has been run?
I watch re-runs and then speak to Paul (agent) to see what he thinks.
Best and worst tracks from a riding perspective?
Best is Ayr, a very fair track and I’ve had some good success there. Worst is Catterick, large fields with moderate horses.
How do you deal with losing runs?
Start again the next day and never dwell; you need to be positive in this game.
Which jockey(s) have had the biggest influence on your own career?
Peter Buchanan and Peter Scudamore have been brilliant with me, from the first day at Lucinda’s they are always giving you tips and good advice.
Which race do you wish you had been given the opportunity to ride in?
Grand National, hopefully soon though!!
Which horse (past or present) do you wish you had the opportunity to ride?
Kauto Star, he’s a horse all jockeys would love to ride.
Which other sporting event do you wish you had been able to take part in?
Rugby Union World Cup (Campbell’s brother, Findlay Gillies plays Rugby for Glasgow Warriors).
Which other sporting event would you like to have the opportunity to be involved in?
Grand Prix. It must be some thrill going at over 200mph!!!
Racing and the general public
In your opinion what could be done to attract new fans to the sport?
The way the current economic climate is we need to give good value for money, a family of 4 going racing won’t get much change out of £100 by the time they have entry fees, food and drink. Maybe a reduction in food and drinks would help, as our sport has no icons, not like football matches where you go to support your team.
Do you think Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, etc…) has had a positive impact on racing and how else do you think it could be used to further promote the sport?
It has both positive and negative; positives from great races and people’s joy at winners, but negatives like the whip debate didn’t really help promote the sport.
Improving the sport
What one thing would you like to see implemented to improve horse racing -
a) on-course? Prize-money for owners, it’s worse now than when I started in 2006!!
b) off-course? More rewards for stable staff. They are the heart of racing, behind the scenes they work so hard and deserve more bonuses, not just from trainers, but from prize-money and best turned outs.
Horses to follow
Which horse are you most looking forward to riding between now and the end of the season?
Lie Forrit as Brindisi Breeze is now on his holidays until next season.
Which Novice (that you have ridden) has impressed you most this season (hurdler or chaser) with a view to next season?
Which Novice (that you have not ridden) has impressed you the most this season (hurdler or chaser) with a view to next season?
Sprinter Sacre, amazing performance at Cheltenham.
Dark horse to follow for the 2012/13 National Hunt season?
KRIS CROSS from Lucinda’s, he looks a nice horse for next season. Grant (Cockburn) won on him at Ayr and he’ll be one to follow.
Cheltenham Gold Cup or Scottish Grand National?
Hurdles or Fences?
A P McCoy or Ruby Walsh?
20 runner long distance handicap chase or 20 runner 2 mile maiden hurdle (for riding purposes)?
Long distance chase
Just for fun
If you could have any superpower what would it be and why?
Indestructible, I think all jumps jockeys would want that!!!
Campbell is currently experiencing his best ever season with 33 winners to date, including a Grade 1 victory at the Cheltenham Festival.
In March alone he has ridden 10 winners from 40 rides (25% S/R | +£29.05 BFLSP).
Many thanks to Campbell for taking part in this NTF Q&A session and lets hope he can smash through the 40 winners mark before the season is over.