Racing: Ruud Awakening team have tough call on jockey

By Mike Dillon

Darren Beadman, centre, rides Fiumicino to victory in the 2009 BMW. Photo / Getty Images
Darren Beadman, centre, rides Fiumicino to victory in the 2009 BMW. Photo / Getty Images

You don't usually entertain problems after winning a million dollar race.

But the Ruud Awakening team have a tough call to make on who will ride the Karaka Million winner in her next start, the group one Diamond Stakes at Ellerslie on March 9.

Karaka Million rider Craig Williams is unavailable because of commitments to ride on Super Saturday in Melbourne with its two $1 million races.

Previous regular rider Jason Waddell is presumably off the list after a well-publicised scrap with the connections of Ruud Awakening over weight issues.

And whoever gets the Diamond ride should be considered temporary as Williams might come back into radar vision after the Diamond.

"If she wins the Diamond impressively who knows, Craig Williams might like to ride her in the Golden Slipper," said trainer Stephen Marsh.

Williams was excited about the Australian prospects of Ruud Awakening immediately after winning the race and has remained so since returning home.

"We've been keeping in touch with his manager, who tells us Craig is very keen to keep up with where the filly is going."

Ruud Awakening will return to Marsh's Cambridge stable on Wednesday.

"She doesn't really need too much of a break because she came through the Million race so well.

"If you had to back her up a week after that run you wouldn't have been worried.

"The morning after the race she looked as though it was the morning before the race.

"That's an enormous help."

•Two interesting characters were seen hanging together at the Karaka sale ring mid-week.

Darren Beadman and Shane Dye.

Worldwide you would struggle to find two jockeys who combined have ridden more group one winners.

The interesting feature of the pair being together at Karaka is that both came close to dying in Hong Kong race falls.

Beadman's fall has caused him to retire. Paraphrasing his medical advice is that after the serious head and brain damage he suffered he's fine for everyday life but not for race riding.

Retiring has not been easy for him.

On the ground Beadman was the epitome of the choirboy with bible in hand, but on the racetrack he rode closer to Atilla The Hun.

No one ever rode a racecourse bend better and if you were his main opposition - watch out.

Yet he had a remarkable ability to disguise his intense competitiveness. Maybe it was the smile.

He was tougher than he looked.

In the 1990s he gave up riding for a couple of years to devote his life to Christianity. He said God had called him to which Bart Cummings famously replied: "I think you should get a second opinion."

The Herald interviewed Beadman at the start of that couple of years "retirement" when he arrived in Auckland to promote the autobiography he wrote.

This writer asked him if he'd ever been scared in life, to which he replied: "Only when driving the parish truck loaded with bread into Sydney suburb Redfern each afternoon.

"I knew then God was on my side."

Beadman has made the right decision for himself, his family and for the racing industry.

He has nothing more to prove and, yes, he'll be missed.

But he'd be missed a lot more if he landed on his head one more time. •James McDonald has accepted the ride in the Auckland Cup in March on My Scotsgrey.

The big lumbering grey has suddenly turned into something that more resembles a bit of speed.

"He's now won three track gallops in his life and they've all been in the last two months," said trainer Shaune Ritchie.

My Scotsgrey is showing no signs of the leg trouble that halted his career last season.

"He's really working well."

- NZ Herald

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