Ryan Mania Reacts To Northern Racing Awards Win And Looks Ahead To His Weekend Rides

The Grand National winning jockey looks back at his past week and ahead to his three rides this weekend
13:05, 03 Dec 2021

My Week

So where were you at 3.15pm on Saturday 27th November? Hopefully you were all watching the excitement unfold in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle, a tactically exciting race finishing in a dead heat. I certainly have never seen a dead heat in a Grade 1 before but there were great rides given to both horses by jockeys Johnny Burke (Not So Sleepy) and Aiden Coleman (Epatante). It will be a race they talk to their grandkids about. 

Down at Newbury there was a great winner and an emotional one for the Ladbrokes Trophy - Cloudy Glen owned by the late Trevor Hemmings. He was an owner who gave so much to British and Irish horse racing over the years and who also gave me my first Cheltenham Festival winner. It was so great to see his colours win such a big race. 

My own weekend started off well as my wife and I attended the Northern Racing Awards at Newcastle Racecourse where I was nominated for jump ride of the year on Vintage Clouds at the Cheltenham Festival. Can you believe it, I actually won?! It meant a lot to me to be recognised for my achievement.

Saturday's racing however was not so exciting. After 30mm of rain and battered by Storm Arwen we were surprised that Newcastle was on. Now the ground was soft and I thought that meant I had a great chance with Tresnish, but stepping him up to 2m4f proved the wrong decision as he didn’t stay. 

Dingo Dollar ran a good race to finish third in the Rehearsal Chase on ground that wasn’t ideal for him. The race was run at a fierce pace with the first three being up on the pace together the whole way and no other horses got a look in. It was wonderful to see Aye Right win the race for trainer Harriet Graham. He ran some almighty races in defeat last year so he thoroughly deserved to get his head in front. 

Dingo Dollar
Dingo Dollar

Donna’s Double was most disappointing. He was one of the horses I was most looking forward to this season. He didn’t jump well and never really travelled. Hopefully Sandy Thomson can get to the bottom of whatever was bothering him because he is a horse with a lot of ability. 

It’s been a quiet week for me. Unfortunately, I was off ill Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday (yes, jockeys do get ill) so I missed a few rides. I am feeling better now and heading into the weekend with some nice rides to look forward to. Unfortunately, my intended ride for the Becher Chase at Aintree has ten stone which I’m not able to do so I head to Wetherby instead for three rides. 

Weekend Rides

I’m at Wetherby on Saturday and my first mount is Shore Shanty for Harry Whittington. It will be my first ride for Mr Whittington, and I don’t know much about the horse but looking through its form, it will certainly have a chance. 

SirWilliamWallace steps back up in trip for his second run of the season. He badly needed his first run so will hopefully be fitter this time. However, we are unsure if he really stays the three miles. His ideal trip could be 2 3/4 miles. 

Sir William Wallace
Sir William Wallace

Golden Robin is another stepping up in trip and trying fences for the first time. After riding her at Sedgefield last time I thought she felt like a three-mile chaser so let’s hope I’m right and she improves for the trip and the fences. 

There is some cracking racing elsewhere on Saturday. Firstly, with the Tingle Creek at Sandown. A small but quality field will line-up with Paul Nicholls having two of the five runners and he will be hoping to stop the Irish from winning but unfortunately, I think it’s going to go the way of Chacun Pour Soi. I know it’s boring picking the favourite but on official ratings he is the one to beat. 

Aintree are back racing over those magnificent National fences with the Becher Chase. It is always difficult to pick a winner over these fences because so much can go wrong on the way round, which means it's best to stick to horses with course form. Mac Tottie won the Grand Sefton and although that race is half a mile shorter than the Becher he has form over three miles so the Becher trip shouldn’t be a problem. 

You couldn’t write off last year’s winner Vieux Lion Rouge, he is great around there. But I’m going to pop outside the box on my selection and go for Top Ville Ben, a quality horse on his day. Connections thought they may have had a Gold Cup horse at one stage. Now I’m hoping the big green fences spark a revival for the Phil Kirby trained 9yo.

Top Ville Ben
Top Ville Ben

Moving on to Sunday where I’m at my local and favourite track Kelso. The exciting novice chaser Doyen Breed goes in the Paris Pike Novice Chase. He was put up 13lb for his chase debut win, so he has a bit to prove. After Sunday we will either be thinking about a race at the Cheltenham Festival or asking the handicapper to drop him!


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