Ryan Mania: I can’t wait to ride Auroras Encore again
Ryan, you’ve been passed fit to ride Auroras Encore in the Coral Scottish Grand National on Saturday. You must be excited to get back in the saddle?
I can’t wait to get back to racing. After winning the Grand National, the thought of someone else riding Auroras Encore at Ayr was killing me. Sue Smith has got some very good horses running this weekend so I’m just happy to be declared fit to race.
Has your incredible victory at Aintree sunk in yet?
I don’t think it has yet. It’s every jockey’s dream to win the Grand National, but realistically, racing up north, I didn’t ever think it could happen in my wildest dreams. When I crossed the finish line I barely celebrated because I just couldn’t believe that I’d won the biggest race in the world.
When did you realise that you were in with a chance of winning the Grand National?
At the final fence he made an incredible jump to take the lead and I knew then that we were going to be placed. Even in the closing stages I was convinced we were going to get headed, but the horse just travelled so well.
Just 24 hours after the Grand National you were airlifted to hospital following a nasty fall at Hexham. How scary was it?
Jump racing is a very tough sport and it’s just one of those things that happens. I remember lying there thinking it’s just my luck to win the biggest horse race in the world then end up in hospital the next day!
What was it like to become an overnight celebrity after winning the National?
It was amazing to see how many people turned up to welcome me back home, and there’s been a lot of interviews and TV appearances to do since. I’ve enjoyed the experience, but I’m looking forward to getting back to my day job this weekend and hopefully riding some winners.
The handicapper hasn’t been kind to Auroras Encore. How will he cope with being top weight at Ayr?
He’s carried weight before, but we’ll just have to see what happens. My main concern would be the ground. He could do with a bit of rain, which we’ll hopefully get before the weekend. He’s in tremendous condition though and he came out of the Grand National looking like he hadn’t had a race.
The last horse to win the Grand National and Scottish Grand National was Red Rum. How much would it mean to make history on Saturday?
It would be great to do the double, and being a Scotsman it would mean that bit more to win both. We’ll just have to hope for the best and see what happens up at Ayr on Saturday.