Beasley rides in for season's end - but with an eye on the future
Australian jockey Danny Beasley has ridden the wave of his recent successful Sydney carnival all the way to a licence to ride in Hong Kong for the rest of this season. Placed fourth on the championship in Sydney, Beasley was yesterday issued with a licence from May 7 until June 30, covering the final 13 meetings of the season.
His arrival will fill the sudden void left in the past month by the unscheduled departures of French riders Olivier Doleuze, after a cocaine positive suspension, Eric Legrix, for knee surgery, and Eric Saint-Martin, over fears about the SARS virus. The jockey ranks have been further depleted by the suspensions over the past week of Gerald Mosse, Eddie Lai and Anton Marcus. Mosse's return is also uncertain after a nasty fall from Equator Kid on Queen Elizabeth II Cup day.
Beasley, 27, has had an outstanding season, culminating in recent Group One wins on Polar Success in the Golden Slipper Stakes - the world's richest two-year-old race - and Grand Armee for Gai Waterhouse in Australia's major mile event, the Doncaster Handicap.
'The whole season has just gone so well,' Beasley said yesterday. 'It isn't only that I've won the Slipper and Doncaster, but I have been so pleased all year with the consistency of my riding form. The timing of this opportunity in Hong Kong is just perfect as the Sydney carnival finished last weekend and now I'm very excited and looking forward to the new challenge.'
Despite the inertia he has built up in Sydney, Beasley said he realised it would be difficult to make a serious impact on a brief licence in Hong Kong, but he had been spoken of as a frontrunner for a ticket next season and sees this as a chance to impress for the future.
'I hope I can work hard, ride a few winners to give myself a profile in Hong Kong racing and perhaps it will help me to get a licence for more time next season or at some other time,' said Beasley, who rode with considerable success in Macau last year when he was linked to the Gary Moore stable.
'I'm expecting it to be very competitive, much harder than Macau, but Sydney is pretty competitive and I hope that will hold me in good stead. Whether having ridden in Macau is a help, I don't know, but I suppose there will be some similarities. Like Macau, there is the small pool of horses, jockeys and trainers and some aspects of the handicapping system would probably be something like Macau.'
Beasley, who rides at 114 pounds, has won eight Group One races and was the regular rider of Victory Vein during her two and three-year-old career.
Married with one child, he plans to come without his family when he arrives in Hong Kong today to undergo his medical check, enabling him to begin riding trackwork tomorrow. Beasley hopes to pick up his first mounts on Saturday.