Champion Australian jockey Darren Beadman fears his riding career may over due to his slow recovery from injuries he received in a fall in Hong Kong back in February.
Beadman was thrown to the ground heavily when his mount Lucky Together broke down and collapsed in a Sha Tin barrier trial and the top rider was left with severe head injuries.
Hong Kong doctors told Beadman that the trauma he received was affecting his balance, speech and brain functions and his recovery since has been very slow.
“It’s really happening very slowly. My balance is no better and I’m having a problem with multi-tasking.”
“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,” Beadman said.
“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 who has spent some time back in Sydney with family and friends, returned to Hong Kong to undergo more tests and has been booked for another MRI scan to determine the progress of his recovery but the prospect of him returning to the saddle to take up his position as stable rider for the successful John Moore stable is looking very doubtful.
Moore has gained approval for a stable ride from the licencing committee of the Hong Kong Jockey Club but didn’t name a rider, indicating that he was prepared to wait for a final assessment on Beadman’s health before appointing another rider if needed.
“Darren has been offered the job again next season but it is in the back of my mind that I have to be considering other options too, given that Darren’s rate of recovery from his injuries is so slow,” Moore said.
Beadman has been Moore’s stable jockey for the past five seasons and as well as combining for 174 wins, the pair teamed up for Moore’s first trainer’s premiership in twenty years.
Young New Zealand rider James McDonald has been touted as Beadman’s replacement after the talented jockey was lured to Hong Kong by Moore and partnered Xtension to victory in the Group 1 HK$12m The BMW Champions Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin on May 6.
Moore is currently on fifty-two wins and is in second spot on the trainer’s premiership table behind John Size who has a clear lead of thirteen on sixty-five while Beadman had ridden twenty-four winners this season before his nasty fall in February.
Beadman indicated that if he did return to race riding it could possibly be back in Australia and not in the very competitive atmosphere of Hong Kong.
“The scene there is so intense and I would be so much under the microscope that it probably would be better if I rode again in Australia and proved myself again first,” Beadman said.
Australian jockeys who have been granted licenced for next season are Brett Prebble, Zac Purton, Tye Angland and Tim Clark.
Prebble is running second in the jockey’s premiership with fifty-seven wins behind runaway leader Douglas Whyte who has ridden one hundred winners so far this season and Zac Purton is on forty-four wins in third spot.