Ryan Mania Reflects On Festive Period Ahead Of New Year's Day Rides

The former Grand National winning jockey rides Joke Dancer today
09:18, 01 Jan 2022

Well, what an amazing festive period of racing there was to watch. 

A shock in the King George with Tornado Flyer winning. Although when you look back at his form you start wondering why he was such a big price. Especially coming from the Willie Mullins yard. What’s exciting for me is that he only beat Midnight Shadow one length in the Ryanair at the Cheltenham Festival a couple of years ago. Form that I hope will stand Midnight Shadow in good stead when he steps up to 3 miles next time. 

Bravemansgame lived up to his name to win the Grade 1 Kauto Star Chase, getting his revenge on the northern raider Ahoy Senor who beat him in the Grade 1 hurdle at Aintree last spring. Then how good was Epatante in the Christmas Hurdle. If she turns up to the Champion Hurdle in March in the same form she will take some beating.

Heaps of quality on show and I haven’t even mentioned the Irish racing. Not quite the festive period I was hoping for however. Plenty of rides with plenty of chances but unfortunately the soft ground went against most of them. Empire Stel looked like winning the Rowland Meyrick before falling 4 out. He didn’t make a mistake just stumbled on landing. Very unfortunate but I have no doubt there will be some big races in him. 

It wasn’t until my faithful Kelso racecourse that I managed to bag a festive winner and just like buses two turned up at once. 

Cedar Hill was the first, very good race planning from his owner Ray Green. However, he had to dig very deep to win and has now upped his tally to four wins around Kelso. Next was Millarville for Harriet Graham, a mare who had been consistent over fences had now dropped back to hurdles and what a great decision that was from her trainer after she hacked up 15 lengths in very testing ground. 

New Year’s Day is a quiet one for me with only two rides at Musselburgh however they both have chances. 

Joke Dancer - Having his first run for new owner Douglas Pryde (who part owned Auroras Encore) he has slipped down in the weights this year and I think he is a winner waiting to happen and the last time I rode in the Auld Reekie chase on New Year’s Day for the same owner I won it. 

Coolbane Boy - Been tricky to train but ran well at Musselburgh last time until making a mistake 3 out so I’m hopeful he can run well. 

Happy New Year everyone.


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