Fans' favourite Jane Mangan back on track for festival
JANE Mangan is back in the saddle at Cheltenham. The young student has determinedly joined the annual exodus returning to the Mecca of National Hunt racing, a year after her dreams were shattered with the finishing line in sight.
Cork jockey Mangan (20) took the tumble at last year's festival after her ride, Oscar Delta, trained by her father, Jimmy Mangan, jinked and left her on the ground in the run-in.
And the amateur jockey is undeterred as she returns this week with the same horse in the hopes of finally flashing first past the post at the famous Prestbury Park track.
It was the fall that broke hearts – but then won fans over to her cause.
She likened it to a "Disney film" that sent the young marketing student's profile soaring, and put her in line for some stellar rides over the past season. "I got a lot of high-profile rides after it and a couple of big winners. It raised my profile," she said, as she told how Oscar Delta was in "good order".
Her father Jimmy, a familiar sight at tracks in his customary purple and gold woolly hat, said: "Since the mishap last year everyone has been good to Jane, and she's arisen from the mishap."
Many of the punters hitting the planes and boats are hoping she might make that dream come true as part of a massive fleet of horses leaving Irish shores, including Carlow trainer Willie Mullins's 40-strong team with the super mares Quevega and Annie Power – who lines up against Big Bucks in the World Hurdle.