He was a debutant in Europe’s most valuable steeplechase before this year, and when he and Auroras Encore crossed the line nine lengths ahead of Cappa Bleu, he became the first Scot to win the race in 117 years.
With just the one major win to his name, and a small number of other good results, including the second place finish aboard his Aintree Grand National winner in last year’s Scottish Grand National, Mania maintains good value for money.
This Saturday brings the first of his big rides to come, when he will pair up with Auroras Encore for the first time since the famous victory. After a super display in which the horse jumped elegantly and finished in lucrative style, the current odds of 14-1 seem generous, and although the double-National feat will be tough, place value may be worth a flutter.
Mania was introduced to horses when he first sat on a Shetland pony aged three, and since then horse racing has continued to be a huge part of his life. Apart from his six months away from the sport during the winter of 2011, the Scot has ridden ever since and has enjoyed a winning percentage of just above 9%.
It hasn’t all been a smooth ride for Ryan though, and he has experienced the extreme highs and lows of being a jump jockey recently. The day after his National victory, the 23-year-old took a heavy fall on Stagecoach Jasper in a low key race at Hexham which hospitalised him for two nights.
He had fractured a vertebra at the base of his neck and was released from hospital on the 9th April. He was cleared to ride again on the 16th April and so his next stop is the two-day meeting at Ayr this week.
For a jockey earning the standard £157.72 per ride like Ryan, the financial side of being a jockey has proved difficult, and this is what forced him out of the sport in 2011. The £50,602.50 prize that Ryan earned at the National will have come as a substantial bonus after returning, but the competition for rides is always tough.
He is bound to attract more interest now, but if the success continues, he could be well worth keeping a close eye on. The only real concern is to whether he can maintain the high level and break through at the top.
Despite achieving every jockey’s dream, and although the Scot is bound to be heavily backed in his home National on Saturday, his inexperience is expected to ensure that odds remain worthy of a bet.
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