Danny Beasley makes winning return at Wagga homecoming

Danny Beasley guided the Tim Donnelly-trained Participator to victory at Wagga on Thursday. The win marked his first victory on Australian soil since 2015. Photo: Trackpix.

Champion jockey Danny Beasley couldn’t have dreamed of a better homecoming at Wagga on Thursday, teaming up with long-time friend Tim Donnelly when guiding Participator to victory in the 1200m Benchmark 66 Handicap. 

The 47-year-old, who grew up in the area, went on to amass almost 1800 winners during his storied career, with 24 of those victories at Group 1 level in either Australia or Singapore.

After spending the last 15 years aboard, Beasley returned to the region just prior to Christmas, and he was quickly given the okay to ride in NSW, and it was a moment to cherish for him and his family at Wagga on Thursday.  

“It was quite special. That was the first time my kids have sort of seen me ride here today, and everyone was here; mum and dad, the sisters, and the nieces and nephews, and a couple of them haven’t seen me ride before but just on television,” Beasley said. 

“It’s been well-documented that I’m in the twilight of my career, and so these things mean a lot more than what they did probably 10, 15 or 20 years ago.

“It was great coming home and riding a winner and I couldn’t thank Tim enough; he gave me a pretty nice one to sit on.”

Beasley made the move back home with his wife and three children, and he explained that the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic essentially prompted a decision that had been years in the making. 

While happy to be back in NSW, Beasley was thankful for his successful stint in Singapore, and he was now readying himself and his family for the challenge of racing in Australia. 

“I was lucky to have a great couple of years up in Singapore, and that was a really nice way to finish with a really good friend Daniel Maher,” Beasley said. 

“But there are significant things, like being back home here with mum and dad, and seeing the girls with all the nieces and nephews grown up and giving my kids a different experience.

“Singapore can be a bit of a bubble and can be really isolated, and to get them out here, travel a bit, and a few different challenges with the Australian way of life, but it should be good, and we will help the kids through that and grow them into good people.”

Beasley is back in action at Albury on Tuesday, with the veteran hoop taking five rides on the program, and it is expected that he will quickly become a hot commodity as he finds his feet on Australian soil.