06/01/2014 4:04PM

Trainer John Hills dies at 53


John Hills, who trained a Group 1 winner in Europe, as well as Docksider, who was third in the 1999 Breeders’ Cup Mile, died of pancreatic cancer Sunday, according to press reports in England.

Hills was 53 and active as a trainer in recent weeks. His stable was based in Lambourn, west of London.

Docksider was the most prominent runner Hills sent to the U.S., finishing a neck and a head behind Silic in the 1999 BC Mile at Gulfstream Park. Docksider later won the 1999 Hong Kong Mile.

At Santa Anita in autumn 2006, Hills won the Oak Tree Derby with Dark Islander and was second in the Las Palmas Handicap with Clinet. In Europe, Hills won the Group 1 Aral Pokal in Germany with Wind in Her Hair in 1995.

A former jockey, Hills began training in 1987 after working as an assistant for John Gosden in California and Colin Hayes in Australia in the early 1980s. Hills was the son of trainer Barry Hills and the brother of former British jockeys Michael and Richard. Another brother, Charlie, trains in England, while a fourth, George, is in the equine insurance business.

In 1996, Barry and John Hills had the first two finishers in the English St. Leger with Moonax and Broadway Flyer.