Desiree Grace Gill was born 27 October 1968. Dessie, as she was lovingly known as by her husband Barry Gill, hailed from a small town about 160 km’s north of Brisbane called Gympie.
Desiree’s mother, Margaret Hulm, said she grew up breaking in horses and always had a strong passion for the animal, and riding from a young age.
Such the talent and drive of Desiree, she claimed the South-East Queensland jockey premiership in the two consecutive seasons, 2011-12 and 2012-13, at the age of 44 and 45 respectively.
After a remarkable day in the saddle at Bundaberg on Melbourne Cup day 2013, which included four winners from five rides (the other being a third), Desiree was on top of her game, unfortunately at this meeting is where she would ride her last winner aboard gelding, Wild Max.
On November 9, 2013, at a Sunshine Coast night meeting, Desiree was riding maiden gelding, Celtic Ambition in race five of the card.
During the race, Celtic Ambition raced a touch keen before settling in fourth position. Soon after, the pace slackened considerably and Celtic Ambition’s forelegs clipped the heels of the runner in front of him and fell, taking Desiree down with him.
Desiree was taken to nearby Nambour Hospital but sadly passed the next morning.
Desiree left behind an enormous legacy that not many would know about. She held a position for many years with Racing Queensland, which entailed her being a mentor to young apprentice riders.
Whether she held an official job title or not, she always wanted to help the industry that she lived and breathed. She was a fantastic mentor for young jockeys, especially for the young girls and women coming through the riding ranks.
A testament of how significant her role as mentor was in Queensland, one young female jockey, Tamara Tincknell, affectionately referred to her as ‘Mum’.
Desiree is survived by her loving trainer husband Barry and her two sons Peter and Ryan.
Immediately after Desirees passing, Racing Queensland in conjunction with the National Jockeys Trust established a fund in her honour.