Close Call for Hong Kong Jockey

Darren Beadman, injured in Hong Kong, could be back in the saddle in a week.

by Murray Bell

Darren Beadman is poised to make an astonishing recovery from a potentially serious knee injury inflicted when an unraced 3-year-old went berserk in the barriers before the second race at Sha Tin Racecourse Nov. 17.

Initially, Beadman thought he had sustained serious structural damage to the knee, and could only fear the worst after hearing a loud snap and then experiencing “agonizing pain.” But 24 hours later, the outlook was different; specialists said he might be riding as early Nov. 25 and will definitely be back in business in time for the Dec. 9 Cathay Pacific International Races.

Beadman was taken away on a stretcher in agony after the Tony Millard-trained Gallant Hussar threw him in the barrier stalls shortly before the dispatch. Rival jockeys told of Beadman’s agony when Gallant Hussar reared up and pinned the Australian’s leg against the side of the stall while forcing the jockey’s body further away.

“You could see the blood flow from his face--he just went white with the agony,” said South African Kevin Shea. “It was terrible to watch. The pain must have been horrendous.”

At first, Beadman himself thought he had ruptured ligaments in his knee, which could have required a total reconstruction and at least nine months out of the saddle. Then, there was positive news that evening from Prince of Wales Hospital when doctors advised the Hong Kong Jockey Club that Beadman had a hairline fracture of the fibula, just below the knee.

“I have a hairline fracture to the fibula and a tear in the tendon and, at the moment, I can’t put a lot of weight on it, but I can stand and there isn’t much swelling,” Beadman said the morning of Nov. 19. “There was some internal bleeding, picked up by the MRI scan, which is in the muscle rather than the knee joint, fortunately.

“The doctor told me that would have been a problem if it was in the joint. The important thing is that there’s no major ligament damage.”

Beadman, a seven-time champion jockey in Australia, is in Hong Kong as the retained rider for the John Moore stable. They have clicked instantly, with Beadman’s 16 wins (15 for Moore) since Oct. 1 taking each of them into second in their respective standings.