Just eighteen months after he rode the winner of the Grand National, young jockey Ryan Mania has quit the sport with immediate effect.
Mania blames his personal battle with his weight. He says: “I am sad to be be stopping, but it has been at the back of my mind for some time. People don’t always see the sacrifices jockeys have to make if they are to make the weight. I thought I’d be able to carry on until Christmas, but my mind is made up.”
It leaves trainer Sue Smith and her husband Harvey searching for a new regular jockey. It was when trainer and jockey combined to win the National with 66/1 shot Auroras Encore that the Bingley based trainer, and the Scottish born jockey, hit the headlines.
Sue Smith said: “We are disappointed that Ryan has called it a day. If his heart isn’t in it, there’s no point carrying on.”
I would imagine her less diplomatic husband, former show jumper Harvey, used an expletive or two when he got the news. It was Harvey who spent so much time encouraging Ryan Mania to be a jump jockey.
25 year old Mania said: “I have had a great time with Sue and Harvey – they gave me the best day of my life with the National. But I’m not being fair to them or myself if I carry on being miserable. I rode four winners the other week and I just didn’t get that kick out of winning.
“I want to be at a level when I am riding winners regularly at Cheltenham, and the other big races, and I just can’t see that happening on a regular enough basis to make it worthwhile.”
Those comments lead me to believe that it may not simply be racing that is a problem for Ryan Mania, but I wish him all good health for the future and hope he finds his next job more fulfilling.
And he’ll always be able to say: “I won the Grand National.”