Vin Mills has spent a lifetime around horses and racing. Interested in horses from an extremely young age, it was inevitable that he would pursue a career in the saddle.
Cliff Fahler was a racehorse trainer renowned for wearing a 10-gallon hat and the moniker ‘King of the Kids’ – due to his prolific number of two-year-old winners he trained in Victoria.
Before Fahler trained his production line of precocious youngsters at Mornington, he had stables in Essendon. Mills, barely a teenager, knew how to sit on the back of a horse though it was Fahler that taught him how to truly ride.
Weight restricted a career as a jockey to point-to-point steeplechases at the Findon Hunt Club. Mills hunted with the hounds at the same club.
Mills turned his hand to riding track work. Stables rely on a horseman with ‘a clock inside his head’ that gallops the stable’s horses each morning.
They get to know the horses, can tell when they are in spectacular form leading into a race, but also when they are out of sorts or developing a niggling problem.
Mills rode work for the late Ned Courtney jr for over 20 years.
As well as horses, Mills took a shine to women, one special one named Lorna. They are closing in on 50 years of marriage.
They have four children. Angela is the only girl and the boys – Simon, Justin and Martin were keen on hunting. Simon and Martin then went on to ride professionally, with success, in jumps racing.
Vin broke new ground in thelate 1990s, taking on the role of valet for Brett Prebble. This entailed layng out and cleaning the jockey’s gear, leaving Prebble to focus on his next ride.
In 2006, after Prebble moved to Hong Kong, Craig Williams engaged Mills’ services.
Mills is also currently working with the VRC as an early morning track work staff member and continues to enjoy being involved with the current crop of young riders.
Vin Mills is a very important part of Craig’s race day management.
He prepares all of Craig’s riding equipment for each race and is also one to lean on for sound advice.