Grand national winner Ryan Mania’s family have yet another reason to be proud of him – his win netted their friends £10,000.
The 23-year-old jockey was given a hero’s welcome when he returned home to Galashiels on Tuesday last week.
But the celebrations were even more exuberant at his father’s workplace .
Around eight of Kevin Mania’s colleagues clubbed together to put about £150 on Ryan winning the race, despite him being rated as a 66/1 outsider at Aintree.
Kevin said: “My colleagues rallied behind him and piled down to the bookies to show their support and loyalty, which is amazing, especially considering the high odds.”
The 48-year-old said his workmates at water firm Panton McLeod were hoping it was the first of many wins.
“My colleagues are already hoping he’s going to be fit and healthy to carry on the success and cheer him on at the Scottish Grand National on Saturday.
“It’s like having a celebrity around town.”
He added: “Seeing your son scooping the Grand National title in his first attempt and being the first Scot in living memory to win is one of the proudest moments of my life.
“The support he received in Galashiels was unbelievable.”
Kevin also spoke of his fear after Ryan’s fall at Hexham last weekend, which saw him admitted to hospital.
He continued: “His injury the next day was a real scare and the concern and support that came in from everyone at Panton McLeod was lovely and really appreciated by us all.
“Thankfully he’s a strong lad and came away with only minor injuries.
“It’s an exciting time in Galashiels at the moment; he’s single-handedly put the community on the map.”
Around 3,000 local residents lined the streets to toast the jockey’s return after he was given the all-clear for his hospital release following a fall the day after winning the Grand National on 66-1 shot Auroras Encore.
Shelagh Briggs, finance director at Panton McLeod, said: “Ryan wasn’t actually confirmed to be racing until the Friday but the excitement and support that flooded in last minute here was unbelievable.
“He had high odds, but it is a really tight community here and everyone wanted to show their support and faith with it being his first race and at the UK’s biggest horse racing event.
“It just goes to show that it pays off supporting the underdog and I hear the Borders bookies took a battering – no doubt thanks to our doing too.”