Monday, 15 August 2011



"Charlie Hills talks to Steve Dennis about taking the reins from his legendary father Barry.
"IT'S UP TO ME to maintain the family name - it's not going to be easy, but nothing
 worthwhile is, is it?
My first job is to find a flagship horse. We have had one in virtually every season but not this one."

"Charlie Hills will next week take over the stable his father Barry built up over more than 40 years. He explains to Steve Dennis why he is relishing the opportunity to step up.

"IT'S A standard plot device in all the best sagas, from the silver screen. Venerable patriarch takes chosen son into the garden, waves an arm at the homestead. "Some day, son," quavers venerable patriarch, "All this will be yours."

"For Charlie Hills, 'some day' has arrived. Next week, after the hubbub of York's Ebor meeting has died down Faringdon Place Stables on the edge of Lambourn will have a new master, the 32-year-old son of the old master whose job it will be to carry the yard's glorious past into an equally glorious future. Business as usual; here's the new boss, same as the old boss. Well much the same.

"It's a hard act to follow, of course. Barry Hills trained for more than 40 years, trained almost 3,200 winners, trained some great names, won great races. But nothing lasts forever, and now the younger man has his chance, "I can't wait," he says. "I've wanted to train all my life, since my schooldays.
Everything's been building toward this.I never really thought about doing anything else with my life."

"Charlie, the fourth of Barry's five son's, has been the  anointed heir to the empire for some time. Brothers Michael and Richard are jockey's, John has been a trainer in his own right for years. "It's Charlie who has been learning at his father's knee, absorbing a lifetime's accumulated wisdom in a few short years to be ready for when 'some day' came. When it did, though, the moment itself was still slightly unexpected . "It was about ten day's ago" he says "Dad said he wanted a chat, asked me to go round to his house with my wife Philippa. He sat us down and said he'd decided it was time to hand over to me.

"He was going to hand over the license after York - he was actually going to keep it quiet until York, but (the Racing Post) Rodney Masters came round to see him on the Sunday and it was in the paper the next day."

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