Jockey legend takes one last lap of Ellerslie

By Mike Dillon

Wayne and Paul Hillis' father, Brian, was famous for jumps races like the Great Northern Steeplechase. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Wayne and Paul Hillis' father, Brian, was famous for jumps races like the Great Northern Steeplechase. Photo / Brett Phibbs

You'd think the sight of a coffin being driven around Ellerslie Racecourse would be weird. Strangely, it wasn't.

Jumps legend Brian "Baggy" Hillis, who died on Sunday, made his final lap yesterday when sons Wayne and Paul, wearing their father's black and pink racing colours, sat with his casket as it was towed up the Ellerslie Hill.

It was a hill the 77-year-old and his sons had all climbed in winning New Zealand's finest jumping race, the Great Northern Steeplechase.

On Monday Wayne Hillis approached racing manager Andrew Castles, who had everything set up by midday yesterday.

Colin Jillings, trainer of Brockton, on whom Hillis won two Great Northerns, gave the sons a photo of Hillis on his way to winning the 1971 race.

Baggy Hillis' funeral will be held at Matamata Racecourse on Friday.

- NZ Herald

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