Hundreds lined the streets of Galashiels to cheer home Grand National winning jockey Ryan Mania last night.
Standing aloft in the back of a black 4x4, the 23-year-old Braw Lad, released from hospital in Newcastle earlier that day, was piped down Bank Street and back along Channel Street by the Galashiels Ex-Service Pipe Band.
Families, teenagers, friends, relatives, neighbours and his farrier cheered and clapped, many shouting ‘well done Ryan’, before he was interviewed by fellow former Braw Lad Colin Playfair on the platform by the town centre fountain.
Reliving the race, Ryan joked that as he led, racing to the winning post, “I didn’t dare look behind in case I fell off.”
He hopes to reunite with Aurora’s Encore for the Scottish National “and make it a double” he said to cheers.
And he said to his family and supporters: “From the bottom of my heart, thank you.”
Galashiels grandfather David Millar had reason to cheer for he was watching the race with his family and decided on the spur of the moment to put £5 each way at odds of 80 to 1 on the local hero.
“I never bet, I haven’t betted for years. We all watched the race. It was just unbelievable. And it’s a great turnout tonight,” he said.
He won £510 - and booked a week’s holiday in Lanzarote with his wife Elma later this month.
Practice nurse and mum-of-three Jackie Paton said: “It’s a good thing for the town and the whole area. It was exciting watching him. It’s nice to see everybody coming out for him.”
Galashiels’ 17-year-old Lucy Brownlee said: “I’m here because Ryan’s the biggest thing that will happen in Gala.”