Beadman puts hand up to partner Douro

Darren Beadman has offered to ride Danny O'Brien's stayer Douro Valley in next month's Hong Kong Vase.

The horse's regular rider, James Winks, was yesterday suspended for 30 meetings by Racing Victoria Ltd stewards.

His ban ends on December 13, the day before the 2400m Vase at Sha Tin.

The concern for connections is Winks would be without a race ride for a month going into one of the big international race days.

"We're still deciding but Darren Beadman has put his hand up. He won the Naturalism Stakes on him. He's the logical replacement," O'Brien said yesterday.

Damien Oliver, who had success for O'Brien during the spring, will also be in Hong Kong for the international meeting.

Winks was suspended after stewards found him guilty of causing the fall in the 0-68 Handicap at Geelong on September 5 that resulted in serious injuries to apprentice Willie Hernan.

Stewards found Winks had allowed his mount Stanza Spirit to shift in near the 100m when insufficiently clear of Hernan's mount Karla's Joie, causing that horse to fall.

His suspension is effective from today.

Winks had to gain a release from four O'Brien-trained horses at Wednesday's Ballarat Cup meeting so he could start the ban immediately.

Hernan, 20, who gave evidence yesterday, received fractured vertebrae and neck and brain damage in the fall.

"I'm still 12 months away from even thinking about riding again," Hernan said.

"I'm keen to ride, but it's a matter of how restricted I am with the neck and shoulder."

O'Brien said Douro Valley had progressed well since his close second to Zipping in Saturday's Sandown Classic.

Hong Jockey Club officials will send an invitation to connections today.

"There's no shame in getting beaten by Zipping," O'Brien said.

"His preparation couldn't have been better. He had a soft run because there wasn't a lot of pace on.

"We won't do much between now and Hong Kong but we might take him to Moonee Valley on the 29th for a gallop before we leave."

Among nominations for the Vase are last year's Melbourne Cup runner-up, the Luca Cumani-trained Purple Moon, French star Doctor Dino and three Japanese horses well known to Australian punters: Delta Blues, Pop Rock and Eye Popper.

O'Brien's apprentice Duncan Miller was discharged from Frankston Hospital on Sunday night and is resting at home with severe concussion after a race fall at Mornington on Saturday.

By Tim Habel

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Photo by Bruno Cannatelli, to view Bruno's website click here

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