Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Outlook grand for Ryan Mania

Auroras Encore, trained by Sue Smith and ridden by Ryan Mania, won the John Smith's Grand National at Aintree, at 66-1
Auroras Encore, trained by Sue Smith and ridden by Ryan Mania, won the John Smith's Grand National at Aintree, at 66-1

Grand National-winning rider Ryan Mania is to spend a second night in hospital as he awaits a final MRI scan, before hopefully being discharged today, his agent Bruce Jeffrey said.

Mania (23) was taken by air ambulance to hospital in Newcastle following a fall at Hexham on Sunday, on his return to action after winning the National on the Sue Smith-trained Auroras Encore.

The Scotsman was linking up once again with Bingley-based Smith in the St John Lee Handicap Hurdle.

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

Mania was conscious following the fall and was put into the air ambulance on a spinal board before being taken to Newcastle Royal Victoria Infirmary for further assessment.

In a statement, agent Jeffrey said: "Ryan Mania will be staying for a second night at the Royal Victoria Infirmary.

"The 23-year-old Grand National winner is waiting for a final MRI scan to give him the all-clear and allow him to return home. It is expected he will have the scan and then leave the hospital."

Mania said: "I'd like to thank all my friends, family and everyone who has given me support since my accident. I feel OK and I'm really looking forward to being able to leave the hospital and get back to normal life."

Mania's mother Lesley admited it had been a rollercoaster 48 hours since her son's National success.

She said: "It's been ups and downs – we don't know where we've been. I was watching the race on the TV when he fell off. He's had a lot of falls and to be caught by a horse behind him, it's scary.

"You can't do anything until you hear something. That euphoria of the National win is still there – it's just been surreal."

lFlashlight is set to dazzle at Pontefract's first meeting of the season today. Mark Johnston's inmate won with any amount in hand at Southwell last week and it is no surprise to see him turned out swiftly under a penalty in the Dalby Stand Handicap.

Johnston could not have his string in better form at this early stage of the year, firing in winners left, right and centre at the all-weather circuits.

Flashlight ran perfectly well on his first four racecourse appearances on turf, finishing third on his Beverley bow before filling the runner-up spot on three successive occasions.

After just over three months off, the Shamardal colt opened his account at Wolverhampton in late February and while his handicap debut at Kempton was less inspiring, he looked seriously well handicapped in Nottinghamshire a week ago.

The switch back to turf should not trouble him unduly and he is going to be extremely difficult to beat.

Staying will be the name of the game in the two-and-a-quarter-mile Jamaican Flight Handicap, with the John Quinn-trained Hidden Justice an interesting contender.

The four-year-old enjoyed a decent campaign on the Flat last season, but it was frustrating all the same as although he was placed on five occasions, he remains a maiden on the level.

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