04/21/2003 11:00PM

Hills may sit out Guineas


The plans of Hamdan Al Maktoum and his trainer John Dunlop for the 1000 and 2000 Guineas were thrown into disarray on Tuesday when their first-call rider, Richard Hills, was given a 21-day suspension at Newcastle.

Hills incurred the wrath of the stewards for failing to ride out the finish aboard the favored Buthaina in a maiden race, enabling Swift Alchemist to get up and finish in a dead heat for first. The suspension means that Hills will miss not only Newmarket's Guineas meeting on May 2-4, but also the key Epsom Derby trial meetings at Chester and York later in the month.

Hills had ridden Muqbil to take the Greenham Stakes at Newbury on April 12 and Khulood to take the Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket on April 15. Muqbil is the 8-1 fourth choice for the 2000 Guineas while Khulood is the 12-1 sixth choice for the 1000 Guineas.

Hills, who denied any wrongdoing, said that he may appeal the suspension.