Inglis proudly bring you:
Jason Deamer – One Of Racing’s Quiet Achievers
By John Curtis
AUSTRALIA Day 1991 will live long in JASON DEAMER’S memory.
As a 15-year-old schoolboy, he rode his first winner Classic Benny on his home track at Broadmeadow – and the horse was part-owned by his parents John and Christine, and trained by his father, to whom he was indentured.
“It was a special day for sure as I had started my apprenticeship only toward the end of Year 9 at school and had my first ride at Muswellbrook the previous month,” the now Newcastle trainer recalled.
Whilst both Deamer’s father and grandfather Carl rode and trained successfully, it was never a given that the then youngster would follow in their footsteps.
“I always rode ponies as a kid, but didn’t really have my mind set on becoming a jockey,” he said.
“I tried a few other things, and it wasn’t until I was 13 or 14 that all of a sudden I decided I wanted to do that.
“Back then you only had to ride in 10 trials to obtain your licence, and I was able to do that in a fortnight.”
Deamer rode more than 100 winners, but his promising career in the saddle was always going to be short-lived.
“I was 42kg when I started, but was tall and kept going up and up,” he said.
“After outriding my country claim, I transferred to Jack and Allan Denham at Rosehill to get more opportunities.”
Deamer had another memorable moment on his 16th birthday when he won the Country Cup at Royal Randwick on Escaped, a horse trained at Wyong by Neville McBurney (of Lord Hybrow fame).
“Escaped was backed from 100-1 into 40-1 that day,” he said.
Coincidentally, Deamer now trains another horse with the same name, and also won a race with him at Randwick last year – but on the inside Kensington track.
As increasing weight began to take its toll, Deamer returned home and began riding work for the legendary Newcastle trainer Max Lees.
“I had a dream job with Max, riding work and also being a travelling foreman and taking horses to a couple of Melbourne carnivals for him,” he said.
“One of the horses I was riding work on was Nurmi, and mentioned to Max that I thought he would get enough weight to ride him in a race if I lost a bit of weight myself.
“Max was agreeable, but unfortunately the horse got 57 or 58kg, and I couldn’t make that but still managed to get back riding in races for a while and rode four or five winners.”
Around that time, Deamer began an association with owner-trainer David Throsby, who was being troubled for trackwork riders, and travelled to Cessnock to work his horses.
“Dad had vacant stables at the time, and I suggested to David that we could prepare them at Newcastle as he had a few good ones.”
At least one really good one indeed! Her name was Lovely Jubly and, acting as Throsby’s assistant trainer, the combination landed the 2002 Magic Millions 2YO Classic with the grey daughter of Lion Hunter.
With Scott Seamer aboard, Lovely Jubly at $12 beat Sydney filly Chuckle and Melbourne youngster Cool Trent.
After a break, the Newcastle star won the Group 3 Champagne Classic at Doomben first-up in May before a narrow defeat at that track in the Listed Doomben Slipper, then took all before her across the road at Eagle Farm the following month, carrying off the Group 1 double of the 1400m Sires Produce Stakes and 1600m TJ Smith Classic. Melbourne’s Brett Prebble rode her in all four races.
Following a subsequent stable transfer to another legendary horseman Kevin Robinson on the South Coast and only three starts, Lovely Jubly found her way back to Newcastle as Deamer took out his own licence late in the 2002-03 season.
He almost pulled off another major victory with her. At only Lovely Jubly’s second start for Deamer, she finished second to Bollinger in the Group 1 feature for fillies and mares, the Coolmore Classic, at Rosehill Gardens in 2003.
Deamer, as he did in the saddle, not surprisingly also quickly made his mark in his outright training venture, clinching a breakthrough winner at Randwick in May that year.
“A filly named Joyce won a 2YO race at Randwick for me, and she was ridden by Darren Beadman,” he said.
Quietly spoken and one who has always gone about his business in a professional manner, Deamer’s training career was off and running.
He has prepared more than 300 winners – an outstanding achievement considering he keeps a boutique stable which has largely comprised tried horses from other stables.
“I did have 16 in work, but keep the number to around 10 to 12 now,” Deamer said.
“Mum and Dad help out, and I have a couple of staff who work at weekends and do different shifts.
“I choose to keep a small stable as it enables me to balance work and a life outside racing.”
Nothwithstanding keeping a small string, Deamer’s talents quickly caught the eye of major industry players such as the late Nick Moraitis and one of Australian racing’s leading syndicators Dynamic.
A phone call out of the blue eventually led to Deamer forming what has proven a very successful association with Dynamic Syndications.
“In 2019 Dynamic gave me a horse called Decroux, which was originally trained in Sydney,” Deamer explained.
“He ran nearly last at Newcastle after leading at his first start for me, and Dynamic thought seriously about moving him on.
“They decided to keep him in work when I suggested riding him differently, and it worked.
“He flew home at Mudgee and ran second next time, and then also ran another two seconds at Hawkesbury.
“We took him to Kembla Grange for a 2000m Benchmark 64 Handicap, and Nash Rawiller, just back from Hong Kong, won on him with 61kg.
“Nash also won two 1900m races on Decroux at Canterbury, and Christian Reith rode him to win the 2020 Taree Cup.
“I can’t thank Dynamic enough for their support as they have a substantial percentage of horses on my books. I speak with Adam Watt three to four times daily.”
Aside from Lovely Jubly, Deamer regards Bon Amis and Gorgonite as the best horses he has trained on his own.
“A Newcastle syndicate purchased Bon Amis very cheaply in 2017 from Coffs Harbour as an unraced young horse, and he won his first four races at Cessnock, Muswellbrook, Newcastle and Rosehill for us,” he said.
“He had a real liking for Rosehill as his five city wins were all there, and he also qualified for the 2018 Provincial Championships Final and ran third in the first running of the $1m The Hunter at home in 2019.
“Gorgonite was owned by a good family friend Bill Grace, who raced him with fellow mates in the building industry. We won two Listed races (the Royal Parma and Civic Stakes) in 2006 with him.”
Understandably, though Deamer would have liked to have continued his riding career longer, he gets great satisfaction out of training winners, especially as he rides them in trackwork.
“I still enjoy riding, and it’s definitely an advantage for me anyway,” he said. “I can change a horse’s work when I’m out there if things don’t feel right, rather than sending someone else out with instructions.”
. HOOFNOTE: Deamer is looking forward with confidence to the upcoming season, having a solid team and three well-bred rising two-year-olds to his name, along with the lightly-raced youngster Hard To Say ready to begin a new campaign.
He had hoped to chase another Magic Millions Classic earlier this year with the Exceed And Excel colt (raced by a Dynamic ladies’ syndicate) following an Eagle Farm second in Listed company last December, but things didn’t work out and he was spelled.
And whilst English import Greek Hero (back in work), who also arrived at Newcastle from a Sydney stable and was narrowly beaten in last year’s Coffs Harbour Cup, Deamer might get the chance to go one better next month in the $150,000 feature on August 4.
He skilfully prepared yet another Dynamic flag-bearer Zou De Moon to brilliantly win the Maclean Cup last Sunday on the final day of the Grafton July carnival, and that race is now in connections’ sights.
“The Coffs Harbour Cup is one of the eligibility races for the first two placegetters for the inaugural The Big Dance at Randwick on Melbourne Cup day,” Deamer said. “So many trainers will be trying to make the final field, and who knows if we can get there!
“But how good would it be to have a live chance in a $2m race?”