Len Beasley is closing in on a remarkable comeback to racing as the former top jockey battles towards a weight that will see him return to the saddle.
He signalled his intentions to give it one more go earlier in the year but now he’s starting to make real progress with the end at least in sight, if not within reach.
He recently completed a stint with Lee Freedman in Victoria and says that’s only strengthened his desire to start riding winners once more.
“I had a really good time down there and I learned a lot from Lee,” he said.
“It was just good to work with Lee and see how he does things, the only thing I didn’t like is it’s too bloody cold.”
While he certainly took a lot mentally out of the trip, he says on the physical side of things it wasn’t really the ideal environment to be in.
“My intentions were to go down there and get my weight down, unfortunately with the weather it back fired on me a little bit,” he said.
Beasley claims that the severe cold took its toll on his desire to get outside and exercising, but since returning to Sydney things have been a lot better.
“It’s much easier up here, the weights really coming off me,” he said.
It really would be a remarkable effort for Beasley to get back to a consistent riding weight, he was barely a teenager before his weight first became a serious issue to stay on top of.
“When I was 15 years old I hopped on the scales and I was 54.5kgs, by the time I was 20 I rode at 48kgs in the Melbourne Cup,” he said.
He’ll need that same amount of desire and hard work if he’s to make a real go of his comeback this time around although those feather weights are well and truly out of his mindset.
Beasley is realistic about his goals in that department and is hoping to simply get a level that allows him regular rides.
“Even if I’m riding 58 or 59 kilos it’s better than what I’m doing now,” he said.
“When I was walking past people they didn’t even know who I was I was that fat.”
He is making real progress though and we could even see him in a race or two over the Sydney spring carnival.
“Hopefully in two or three months time I’ll be race riding,” he said.
“I lost 10kgs, I got up to 76kgs, I’m about 66kgs now.
“Even if I get my weight down to 62kgs naturally, I know I can ride 58 on race days.”
There’s no question about his desire to reach his goals, Beasley putting it all on the line for one final crack at the big time.
” I’m 34 years old now, I’m going to give it one last shot, if I can do it I can, if I can’t do it I can’t,” he said.
” I’ve had my time off now, I’m putting my mind right to it and I’m giving it 100 percent.”
In his prime Beasley was rated as one of the best jockeys in Australia and has a string of Group 1 titles to his name.
In addition to his success here Beasley also completed a quality 12 month stint in Singapore as well as riding in Macau and even the Dubai World Cup meeting.