Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 29 November 2014

Grand National winner Ryan Mania airlifted to hospital after race fall

Ryan Mania celebrates on Auroras Encore after winning the John Smith's Grand National Chase
Ryan Mania celebrates on Auroras Encore after winning the John Smith's Grand National Chase
Ryan Mania celebrates on Auroras Encore after winning the John Smith's Grand National Chase
Ryan Mania crosses the finish line on Auroras Encore - winning the John Smith's Grand National Chase

Grand National winning jockey Ryan Mania was today airlifted to hospital after a fall in a race at Hexham, only a day after his victory at Aintree.

The Scotsman, who steered Auroras Encore to a famous 66-1 success, was linking up once again with trainer Sue Smith in the St John Lee Handicap Hurdle.

However, his mount Stagecoach Jasper came down early on the final circuit.

Some 25 minutes after the race, the 23-year-old Mania was still being attended to on the track by medics. With the covers up, there was a delay to racing following the arrival of the air ambulance.

Mania was riding at Hexham just hours after posing for photographs with Auroras Encore at his stables in West Yorkshire.

The jockey had to leave the photocall at Mrs Smith's stables near Bingley before the horse's traditional trip to the local pub in order to get to the Hexham meeting on time.

According to some reports Mania suffered a heavy kick to his shoulder when his horse fell in the 3.10 race.

TV's face of racing Clare Balding tweeted: "The highs & lows of jump racing - Ryan Mania wins the National yesterday, now being air lifted to hospital after a heavy fall at Hexham."

She added: "Hope Ryan Mania is ok. Jump jockeys are the toughest of the tough. He's on his way to hospital in Newcastle."#

Mania was seen being put into the air ambulance on a spinal board before being taken to hospital after what appeared to be a kick between his shoulder blades.

He was described as very sore before going to Newcastle Royal Victoria Infirmary for further assessment on neck and back injuries.

Mania was reported to be in a stable condition.

Clerk of the course James Armstrong said: "All I can say at the moment is he's conscious and talking and he is being taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle for further assessment.

"Hopefully all will be fine but we won't have any more news until later."

Earlier, the racecourse was promoting today's meeting on its website with the tag: "Grand National Winning Jockey to ride at Hexham."

Mania was scheduled to ride in two races.

As well as the horse that fell - Stagecoach Jasper in the St John Lee Handicap Hurdle - he was booked to partner Twice Lucky in the Primary Websites Handicap Chase at 4.25pm.

Ewan Whillans took over the ride on Twice Lucky.

Mania is a former point-to-point rider from Galashiels in the Scottish Borders.

His fall came less than 24 hours after he became the first Scottish-born winning rider of the world-famous steeplechase since 1896, when David Campbell won on The Soarer.

After his National triumph, Mania said: "I couldn't have asked for a better ride, and the old horse was loving it as well. I couldn't believe, even at the Melling Road, that I was still there.

"I was happy to be placed at that point, and then the front two stopped and I took off in front of them - it was unbelievable."

His victory marked a dramatic turnaround in his career, which was temporarily halted when he spent six months out of racing and working in the hunt service after his former boss Howard Johnson lost his training licence.

It was Mrs Smith and her husband Harvey who got him back into racing.

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