Aussie jockey Bell dies after fall from balcony

Tim Bell had six wins from 58 starts in Singapore, including the El Dorado Classic feature race
Tim Bell had six wins from 58 starts in Singapore, including the El Dorado Classic feature race. TNP FILE PHOTO

A promising Australian jockey died on Tuesday night after falling from the balcony of his apartment.

Tim Bell, 22, was in the midst of a three-month riding contract at the Singapore Turf Club (STC). He fell from the 12th floor of the Mi Casa condominium in Choa Chu Kang.

It is believed he had locked himself out of his unit and had fallen while trying to retrieve his keys.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, the police said that they received a call requesting assistance at a building along Choa Chu Kang Avenue 3 on Tuesday evening at around 7.12pm.

They arrived to find the jockey lying motionless at the foot of the building. The unconscious Bell was then taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital in Yishun, where he later succumbed to his injuries.

Police have classified the case as unnatural death and said they are investigating the matter.

This is the second tragedy inside 18 months to strike the Singapore horse racing community. In March last year, Nathan Berry, another Australian jockey who was also in the Republic on a short-term riding contract, was suddenly struck down by Norse syndrome (an acute condition related to epilepsy).

Bell arrived in Singapore last month and made a bright start to his career at Kranji. He had six wins from 58 starts, and won his first feature race - the highest tier of thoroughbred racing - when he steered Sebrose to victory in the $150,000 El Dorado Classic on Oct 25.

The pair were expected to team up again in the $1.35 million Singapore Gold Cup on Nov 15.

He also rode Lim's Bullet to victory in the Class 4 race last Sunday.

The STC and the racing community are shocked by the tragedy and have extended their support to his family.

Bell had been tipped by many as a rising star in the sport. He collected 135 winners to seal the 2013-14 Brisbane jockeys' premiership in his first season as a senior rider. He was runner-up last season.

The highlight of his career was capturing last year's Group 1 Queensland Oaks aboard Tinto.

His parents Grant and Keiley flew in yesterday to join his girlfriend Heidi Whalley.

Kranji-based Australian trainer Steven Burridge had been instrumental in bringing Bell to race in Singapore and was deeply saddened by the news.

He said: "It's a tragedy. Timmy had the whole future ahead of him and not only could he ride, but he was also such a great young man, and was very driven to become a very good jockey."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 05, 2015, with the headline 'Aussie jockey Bell dies after fall from balcony'. Print Edition | Subscribe