Ryan Hill is set to launch a new chapter in his racing career with his first runner as a trainer at Northam on Thursday.

Hill will saddle It’s Just A Gift in the Mane Event Café Maiden (1300m), a week after announcing his retirement from riding.

The former English horseman rode 479 winners from nearly 6000 rides, including four Listed events, since moving to Perth nearly a decade ago.

Hill, who rode his final race aboard All Day Session on November 13, said the transition from jockey to trainer was a natural progression.

“It was something I was getting close to and planning for a while,” Hill told The Races WA.

“I still love the thrill and the excitement of riding, but I got sick of the wasting.

“Being in the sauna was just a killer and it takes a lot out of you.

“If the minimum riding weight was 56kg I would definitely still be riding.”

An early driving force for Hill as an apprentice was host trainer Elva Van Merwyk.

The Serpentine-based trainer presented Hill with his first major victory when he guided her gelding New Spice to an upset result at double figure odds in the Listed Tattersall’s Cup (2100m).

Van Merwyk will again lend a supporting role to Hill in his switch to training.

“I’ll have a couple of horses at Elva’s property in Serpentine,” Hill said.

“She has around 500 acres and I have use of about 100 of that.

“It’s a great set up and she’s been a great help.”

Hill hopes to hit the ground running and put to good use the knowledge he gained from other experienced Perth horseman.

He says advice from top trainers Vern Brockman, Stephen Miller, Paul Jordan, and Neville Parnham was invaluable.

Hill formed his best partnership with Brockman and Jordan, riding 47 and 44 winners respectively for the duo.

Hill opted to bypass Belmont on Wednesday and instead target Northam with It’s Just A Gift.

The four-year-old son of Blackfriars has had just the one start after finishing next to last at Narrogin for previous trainer, Adam Durrant.

In a field of 11 starters, It’s A Gift jumps from barrier nine and will be ridden by Hill’s great mate, Brad Parnham.

Julio Santarelli