Beasley's hopeful about next season
Kranji-based Aussie jockey optimistic about helping Meagher win trainer’s premiership
His comeback to competitive riding in late January, after three years as a deputy trainer-cum-track rider, was meant to be his way of helping out the dearth of riders in Singapore.
But it turned out to be an amazing year that even surprised the rider – Danny Beasley – himself. The 46-year-old Australian rode on the crest of a wave and astonishingly came close to clinching the champion jockey’s title.
That honour was decided only on the final day of the season, with Kelantan-born rookie Hakim Kamaruddin beating Beasley by seven winners: The score 59-52.
“2021 was amazing, way better than I ever imagined,” said Beasley.
“I wanted to come back to help the turf club out. They were struggling for jockeys and I thought coming back to being a jockey was my way of helping and showing my support to the turf club, when a lot of other jockeys and trainers had abandoned them.”
The top foreign jockeys pool, aimed at boosting the standard of racing at Kranji, had dwindled from last year, when Covid-19 wreaked havoc on Singapore racing.
Michael Rodd, Patrick Moloney and Daniel Moor returned to Australia. So did New Zealander Alysha Collett, who resumed riding Down Under, where her brother, Jason, plies his trade.
Ryan Munger went back to South Africa. Brazilian Ruan Maia, after leading in the first month this year, was lured to Hong Kong.
Lee Freedman, who won the Singapore champion trainer’s title in his second season in 2018, and Cliff Brown returned to Australia.
After catching up to be only five winners behind Hakim on the final day of the 2021 season, Beasley still had a mathematical chance of notching his first championship.
Both he and Hakim had 10 rides each in the 11-race programme. But to win Beasley had to ride six winners more than Hakim on that day – hard but not impossible.
Winning five to level up would mean Hakim would still win on countback for seconds. But it was not his day. He failed to land a winner. Hakim won twice.
Looking back, Beasley said: “We all know races are not run on paper. Also, I’ve never won five races here, let alone six. I’ve had a few fours. My only five-timer was in Taree, a country track in New South Wales back in the late 90s or early 2000s.
“So, it was really a big ask. I’m already so rapt I have come so close at my first season back. It’s gone beyond what I could have dreamed of.”
Beasley who, bar 2015 when his licence was not renewed and has been a Kranji regular since 2007 until his premature retirement in 2017, is optimistic of another good season.
But chasing the title is simply not in his thoughts. If it comes, it comes.“It would be nice to win a championship, but it’s not something I set out to do,” he said.
“All my career, I really enjoy working with a stable and, when you put most of your eggs in one basket, championships are hard to achieve.
“But you never know, I think we are going to see a pretty different racing scene this year.
“I’m not really sure what the new season is going to bring. There has been a big drop in horse numbers over the last 12 months and the news of Mark Walker leaving is not good news for the turf club.
“I’m lucky I have a very strong friend and supporter in Daniel Meagher. Hopefully, I can help him develop his stable to be champion trainer.”
Meagher finished third this year with 35 winners from 273 runners to achieve the second-highest average (12.82 per cent) among the two-dozen Kranji-based trainers.
His career was boosted by his versatile champion Lim’s Lightning, who won three Group 1 events – the Lion City Cup over 1,200m, the Raffles Cup over 1,600m and the Singapore Gold Cup over 2,000m.
Who else but Beasley was the successful jockey in the Lim’s Stable-owned horse’s triple-classic victory?
Needless to say, the versatile champion and Kranji’s highest-rated galloper is the best horse he has ridden in Singapore.