Date and place of birth: Galashiels, 23 December 1989
Ryan Mania provided Galashiels with one of its outstanding sporting moments when he won the 2013 Grand National on 66/1 outsider Aurora’s Encore.
The former Galashiels Academy pupil and 2012 Braw Lad – who at 23 was one of the youngest riders ever to win the prestigious race – won by nine lengths from runner-up Cappa Bleu in front of a sell-out Aintree crowd of over 70,000 and an estimated 600 million global television viewers.
Mania was the first Scottish-born rider to win the Grand National in 117 years and was a popular winner after a tumultuous period for the famous event.
His victory, which coincided with Gala winning their own rugby sevens tournament at Netherdale the same day, was particularly sweet for Galaleans, although arguably less so for local bookmakers.
Mania retired in late 2014 but made a welcome comeback as a National Hunt jockey in 2019, citing improvements in sports nutrition which allowed him to manage his weight more effectively than previously, as well as family influences and rediscovering his love and appreciation of the sport.