There was disappointing news at the end of last year as Ryan Mania, who enjoyed Grand National glory on Auroras Encore in 2013, has hung up his breeches at the age of 25 after apparently falling out of love with the game and growing tired of the constant dieting required to make riding weight.
Mania is a significant loss to jump racing, particularly in the north, where his successful association with the Bingley stable of Sue and Harvey Smith – “He’s class and he doesn’t know it,” Harvey told this magazine in 2012 – showed him to be a horseman of rare talent and skill.
Northern jump racing, in all areas, lacks the strength in depth of previous generations and the loss of one of its headline acts can only be viewed as regrettable.
Sadly, it seems, we will never know how far this young man would have gone in his first profession, but it is my belief that an opening at one of the top southern stables would have come his way at some point. After all, the likes of AP McCoy and Richard Johnson cannot go on forever. It is this sentiment that surely encourages Jamie Moore when he says his ambition is to become champion jockey.
Moore has never been regarded as one of the top names in the weighing-room but a dedication to his craft and willing attitude has seen him earn the opportunity to sit on better horses with an increasing number of the bigger yards.
In a superb ‘Talking To’ interview with Tim Richards, Moore discusses the importance of family, his association with outstanding chaser Sire De Grugy and relationship with brother Ryan, the three-time champion jockey on the Flat who is regarded as the best in the world.
“We have always been very close,” Jamie says. “He knows what I’m feeling and I know what he’s feeling.
“Occasionally Ryan and I discuss each other’s riding, but, if you’re worth anything, you don’t need telling if you’ve messed up. We both know when things have gone wrong.
“I think he’s the best in the world, and the press keep saying so. I know he’s flattered, even embarrassed, by all the praise. He has ice in his veins. For me, yes, he is the number one.”
The question of who the number one two-mile chaser is – Sire De Grugy or Sprinter Sacre – will rumble on for a while yet, with both currently out of action, although Moore is “very confident” his mount will serve it up to Nicky Henderson’s inmate when the two hopefully meet.
Sire De Grugy, along with his owners the Preston Family & Friends, was one of the stars at December’s ROA Horseracing Awards, sponsored by Weatherbys Bank, which drew a huge attendance in London.
The brilliant Kingman, about to embark on his first season at owner Khalid Abdullah’s Banstead Manor Stud, claimed the coveted Horse of the Year title. Pictures from this fantastic evening of celebration can be found in the January issue of the magazine.
Finally, I would like to wish all of our readers a very Happy Christmas and best wishes for 2015.