Darley have officially announced that former jockey Darren Beadman has taken up a role as assistant trainer to John O’Shea.
Beadman’s exceptional riding career ended after he suffered a life-threatening fall during a barrier trial in Hong Kong in February of 2012, but the champion hoop has got back into the racing game in recent months as an assistant to O’Shea and has joined the leading trainer as a member of the Darley operation following the takeover from Peter Snowden last weekend.
Beadman was the regular rider for John Hawkes when he was in charge in the Ingham family’s racing empire that was based at Crown Lodge and Darley Australia Managing Director Henry Plumptre said that the organization was happy to have such an experience horseman as part of their team.
“Darren is widely recognised as one of the great jockeys in recent times, has considerable experience of the Crown Lodge system through his time with John Hawkes and should prove invaluable in assisting both John and our jockeys in the coming months,” Plumptre said in a statement.
O’Shea told TVN that Beadman will not be taking over the role of Brad Widdup, who acted as assistant trainer to Peter Snowden, but will instead be taking on a new position that allows him to observe the work and trials of individual horses as well as discuss tactics with jockeys – a massive coup for the likes of regular Darley rider Kerrin McEvoy, who will be able to have regular dialogue with a former rider considered one of the greatest tacticians in the history of Australian racing.
“He has got a great racing brain, you don’t realise how smart he is until you spend some time with him, he has got a lot to offer for the organisation,” O’Shea said.
“One of the things when I was training and Darren was doing a little bit of riding for me, he helped you train them in terms of how horses were prepared.
“When we are sitting down analysing the performance of horses and how they were ridden, when Darren makes an assessment there isn’t anyone arguing, that is the end of the story.
“When I make a comment on a ride or some of the others make a comment, sometimes there is debate but when Darren makes a comment there is no debate.”
Beadman made his riding debut in 1982 and had an immediate impact on Sydney racing; winning the Sydney apprentice jockeys title in 1982-1983 and 1984-1985 and he went on to win the Sydney jockeys premiership on seven occasions.
The Australian Racing Hall Of Fame member was the regular jockey for equine superstars Saintly, Octagonal and Lonhro and worked closely with leading trainers Bart Cummings and John Hawkes throughout his career.
Beadman moved to Hong Kong in 2007 and became the regular rider for John Moore, quickly becoming one of the leading riders in the competitive racing environment, but had his career cut short when he suffered a diffuse axonal brain injury, which affected his memory, balance and speed, after a horse that he was riding broke two legs and fell in a barrier trial at Sha Tin.
The 48-year-old finished his riding career with 94 victories at Group 1 level, including Melbourne Cup wins on Kingston Rule (1990) and Saintly (1996), and holds what looks to be an unbreakable record for the most wins in a Sydney season after he rode 164 metropolitan winners in the 2006/2007 racing season.