Dual Melbourne Cup winning jockey Darren Beadman confirmed over the weekend that his riding days are over after succumbing to serious head injuries he suffered in a barrier trial fall at Sha Tin in Hong Kong back in February.
On the eve of the 2012 Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) to be run at Flemington next Tuesday, Beadman announced his retirement as he recalled the excitement of riding his first of two Cup wins on Kingston Rule for Cups King Bart Cummings in 1990.
“Your first Melbourne Cup is hard to top,” Beadman said.
“When you start dreaming and start your apprenticeship it’s all about the Melbourne Cup.
“The emotion, the build-up, thinking about it for so many years, it made the experience unbelievable.”
Beadman again teamed up with Cummings in 1996 winning the Melbourne Cup on Saintly ten days after winning the Cox Plate aboard the giant chestnut.
The champion jockey feared the worst back in June when he was making minimal recovery from head trauma injuries that were affecting his balance, speech and brain functions.
“It’s really happening very slowly. My balance is no better and I’m having a problem with multi-tasking,” Beadman said after visiting his Hong Kong neurosurgeon in June.
“I’m fine doing one thing at a time but if I’m trying to do more, or if I get distracted, it’s like my brain loses its way,”
“Not riding again isn’t the end of the world but it isn’t looking good. And my neurosurgeon says that another head injury and I would be in strife.”
Beadman returned to Australia to continue his rehabilitation but has come to terms of never returning to the saddle to continue his illustrious career which saw him ride ninety-four Group 1 winners and win seven Sydney jockey premierships.
Beadman’s career included stints in Hong Kong as well as Australia and was interrupted when the top jockey took a break from riding in 1997 to become a minster of relgion.
“I’ve been told by my doctor that it is too risky,” Beadman said.
“It took me a while to come to terms with it but I’m comfortable with my decision now.
“My wife, Kim, has been fantastic through all of this and she made a really profound statement to me not long ago when she said that sometimes our hardest decisions in life are made for us.”
Beadman rode many champion racehorses including Super Impose, Let’s Elope, Octagonal, Saintly and Tie The Knot but regards Lonhro as one of his favourites.
“I don’t really put one above the other but the horse I had a special feeling for was Lonhro,” Beadman said.