Though she was clearly desperately upset by what happened, she had remained silent on the matter until now because, she said, “what happened to JT (McNamara) meant I was in no position to be complaining about it.” Even now, her comments were not a complaint, but an explanation of a bizarre incident, which no amount of planning could anticipate.
Mangan was unshipped when Oscar Delta hit the tape that is put out to guide horses and riders up the run in. She put her misfortune down to the horse thinking it had to go round the Cheltenham track again. She said, “It was just one of those things. The horse kind of ran into it – he had two jinks, one to the left and one to the right. I went with the first one but had no balance for the second. He thought he was going out for another circuit. He didn’t see the tape straightaway and I was only concentrating on the winning post.”
Mangan suggested that Cheltenham might take a leaf out of the book of some of the Irish tracks. “Over here in Ireland during the winter on bad ground, they have time at certain tracks to put up a new rail for the run-in. Yet at the Olympics of racing, all they can do is put up a string, a glorified twine. Benefficient kind of leaned the tape as well, but because he won, nothing was said.”
Victory would have given the 18-year-old jockey another first. She took out a riding licence less than two years ago, and rode a winner on her first ride. That was in a bumper, on Jamie’s Darling, a horse owned by her uncle and trained by her father. Dad Jimmy Mangan is no stranger to big race success – he trained Monty’s Pass to win the Grand National ten years ago – but Oscar Delta would have been his first Festival winner. For Jane, he’d have been her first winner over fences.
She was sure Oscar Delta would have won the Foxhunter and said, “He was getting tired, but if the rail had been straight he would have won, no problem.” The fortunate beneficiary of Mangan’s misfortune, Colman Sweeney agreed. He said, "God was on my side, I feel sorry for Jane, though. I did feel he (Salsify) was going to rally but I probably wouldn't have got there.”
That first chase win can’t be too far away, and it would be nice if it came on board Oscar Delta. Look out for the pair in the Joseph O’Reilly Hunter Chase at Fairyhouse next Tuesday.