Grand National-winning rider Ryan Mania had anything but a dream return to action when he suffered a nasty fall at Hexham today and had to be airlifted to hospital.

The Scotsman, who steered Auroras Encore to a famous 66-1 success at Aintree yesterday, was linking up once again with Bingley trainer Sue Smith in the St John Lee Handicap Hurdle.

However, his mount Stagecoach Jasper came down early on the final circuit.

Some 25 minutes after the race the 23-year-old jockey was still being attended to on the track by medics. With the covers up, there was a delay to racing following the arrival of the air ambulance.

Mr Mania was seen being put into the air ambulance on a spinal board before being taken to hospital after what appeared to be a kick between his shoulder blades.

He was described as very sore before going to Newcastle Royal Victoria Infirmary for further assessment on neck and back injuries.

Clerk of the course James Armstrong said: "All I can say at the moment is he's conscious and talking and he is being taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle for further assessment.

"Hopefully all will be fine but we won't have any more news until later."