Champion trainer John Moore sent an SOS to leading Melbourne jockey Damien Oliver yesterday after stable rider Darren Beadman fractured his cheekbone in a fall at Sha Tin, ruling him out of tomorrow's HK$6 million Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Classic Cup.
Oliver was due in Sha Tin next Sunday to ride Irian in the HK$8 million Citibank Hong Kong Gold Cup but will fly in early to ride Dan Excel in tomorrow's Group One feature.
Beadman (pictured) had chosen to ride the underexposed Dan Excel over four other higher-rated stablemates from the Moore camp in the main lead-up race to the HK$16 million Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby next month.
Beadman was thrown face first into the all-weather track when Danny Shum Chap-shing-trained Lucky Together snapped a joint and crashed to the ground early in the second barrier trial. Fortunately, the only two horses behind Lucky Together were able to avoid galloping on the fallen horse and rider.
Beadman is the third jockey to be injured in a fall this week, after Brett Prebble broke his left collarbone and Vincent Ho Chak-yiu fractured his left forearm in separate incidents at the Sha Tin meeting last Saturday.
'They say things come in threes. I don't remember a lot about it,' a groggy Beadman said yesterday, after being diagnosed with a cheekbone fracture between his right eye and ear. 'I felt the horse falter and then next thing I knew I was in an ambulance with the siren going and on the way to hospital.'
'They took some X-rays and the first one was clear but the second showed the fracture. I've had a CT scan that showed no problem but the doctor wants to do another one later to make sure there is no bleeding and that nothing has changed.'
Beadman said he had been given no time frame for his recovery.
'I'll wait and see how it is when the swelling goes down,' he said. 'If I was a footballer, they'd probably send me straight back on the field with an injury like this, so I don't think I'll be out for long.'
It is not the first time Oliver has been Moore's go-to rider when Beadman is indisposed or when the trainer needed additional riders for his multiple runners in major events. He brought in Oliver to ride Military Move in last year's Derby and provided the Australian with a winning ride on Leading City on the same card.
Oliver was also called on as a late replacement by South African Herman Brown for Gitano Hernando in the Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup last year when Moore again put Oliver on a winner on the same card, Able Speed.
'With all the big races coming up, I think Darren will heal pretty quickly,' Moore said. 'Damien will take over Darren's duties for the stable this Sunday and I don't think we have much going around on Wednesday [at Happy Valley]. Then Damien is going to be here next weekend anyway if we still need him to fill in.'
In any event, Beadman is not permitted to ride tomorrow or on Wednesday as he lost consciousness in the fall, and he must not ride for five days.
Oliver will also take the reins on Moore-trained Cosmic Boom (race three), Same World (race seven), Straight Gold (race nine) and Flash Knight (race 10).
Beadman's other substitute riders will be Mark Du Plessis on M's Magic (race two), Oliver Doleuze on Mega Posh (race four), Zac Purton on Osvaldo (race six) and Alex Lai Hoi-wing on What A Heart in the fifth race.