Grand National-winning jockey Ryan Mania will be back in the saddle tomorrow after his heavy fall at Hexham the day after his famous Aintree victory saw him airlifted to hospital in Newcastle.
Then on Saturday, the 23 year-old Scot will once again partner National winner Auroras Encore – but this time in the Coral Scottish National at Ayr on Saturday.
It will be fascinating to see if the 11 year-old Auroras Encore can pull of what would be an historic double. Mania is reportedly looking forward to getting back in the saddle and particularly in re-partnering the Aintree Grand National winner despite feeling a little battered and bruised following his Hexham tumble.
Auroras Encore and Mania finished a close second in the Scottish National last year and if they can go one better, the horse would be the first to complete the Aintree-Ayr double since Earth Summit who
won the Scottish National in 1994 and the Grand National four years later. Incidentally, Earth Summit also won the Welsh National at Chepstow in December 1997 and remains the only horse ever to have won the Aintree Grand National and the Scottish and Welsh Nationals.
But no other horse since the great Red Rum back in 1974 has managed to win an Aintree Grand National and a Scottish Grand National in the same year; the only time this feat was ever achieved, in fact. So Auroras Encore and the popular Ryan Mania could enter the racing history books on Saturday. The horse is currently the 16-1 sixth favourite for the event - and he clearly gets the trip as last yera's running demonstrated. However, the ground may go against him. We all witnessed just how well he lapped up Aintree’s fast-drying ground two weeks ago, but the going at Ayr was described as “heavy” this morning.