Grand National winner Ryan Mania retires

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  • Grand National winning jockey Ryan Mania has retired from race-riding aged 25.

    Ryan cited a battle with his weight and wanting to spend more time with his family as the deciding factors.

    The Galashiels rider is most famous for winning the Grand National in 2013 aboard the 66-1 shot Auroras Encore.

    He became the first Scottish jockey since 1896 to win the famous race when he and the surprise winner passed the post first.

    It was Ryan’s first ride in the race, and he came home nine lengths ahead of Cappa Bleu with Teaforthree in third. At the time Ryan said his “only ambition was to get round”.

    The horse was trained by Sue Smith, wife of legendary showjumper Harvey.

    “People have asked how this compares to showjumping, but I like to look forward so this is the best and I hope there’s more to come. I’ll have to keep going to 100 now!” said Harvey at the time.

    However, the high was short-lived, the next day Ryan suffered a crashing fall from Stagecoach, also trained by Sue Smith, at Hexham.

    He was airlifted to hospital and was found to have a small fracture to his C7 vertebra and soft tissue and ligament damage. He came back to full fitness and continued to strive as a jockey.

    Ryan, who has a background in hunting and pointing, has quit the saddle once before — back in 2011 when he went to become whipper-in with the Fife.

    “I never did any Pony Club things but soon as I started point-to-pointing when I was a teenager I was hooked,” Ryan told H&H previously. “I tried to teach myself to ride like a jockey — it’s all I wanted to be.”

    The jockey was last seen in the saddle on Saturday (22 November) at Haydock. His most recent winner was at Newcastle on 14 November aboard the Sandy Thompson-trained Seldom Inn.

    “Of course I am sad that I am stopping, but it has been at the back of my mind for some time,” he told the Yorkshire Post.

    “People don’t always see the sacrifices that jockeys have to make if they’re to make the weight.

    “I’m not being fair to myself if I carry on being miserable; this is different to last time, when I always knew I would come back riding at some point. I rode four winners the other week and I just didn’t get that kick out of winning.”

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