Renowned New Zealand jumps jockey and trainer Brian “Baggy” Hillis died at the age of 77 on Sunday morning in Waikato Hospital, where he had been admitted during the week.
As a jumps jockey, Hillis won virtually every major event on the New Zealand calendar including the Great Northern Steeplechase of 1972, in which he partnered the Colin Jillings-trained Brockton despite having a broken arm.
Having grown up in Southland – his uncle was legendary jumps rider and trainer Bill Hillis – he enjoyed success as a flat jockey, with the 1957 New Zealand Cup on Great Scot among his wins.
Hillis simultaneously held dual code licences and in the space of a week completed an amazing sequence of wins as a
jockey and driver as well as a trainer in both codes.
His sons Paul and Wayne went on to become top-notch jockeys as well with Wayne going on to become a successful trainer.