Racing UK

Guy Disney in fairytale Royal Artillery Gold Cup success at Sandown

Friday 17 February 2017

Watch how Captain Guy Disney beat the odds to win at Sandown and listen to what he said afterwards.

By staff

The inspirational Captain Guy Disney, who rides with a prosthetic leg, steered Rathlin Rose to an emotional success in the Royal Artillery Gold Cup at Sandown on Friday.

Disney lost his lower right leg after being injured when his vehicle was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade while he was serving in Afghanistan in July 2009. 

The David Pipe-trained Rathlin Rose was the 6-4 favourite to provide Disney with his first success under Rules, and did so in good style, coming through to claim the extended three-mile contest confined to military amateur riders by four and a half lengths from Ardkilly Witness. Disney became the first amputee jockey to win under the Rules of Racing.

Disney, who was third in the race on Ballyallia Man in 2015, said: "I'm only in this position thanks to the lads who helped save my life, the surgeons that looked after me in hospital and the physios that treated me.

"I bust my ACL three weeks ago and the Injured Jockeys Fund got me back on track. I've not ridden in a race since three weeks ago, so the credit is to all them.

"I'm only here because of the hard work of other people. It's because of them I've had this opportunity and I'm very lucky. Some don't make it back."

He added: "Racing is an amazing sport, it really is. I loved my time in the army and I feel it is very hard to replicate, but I adore this and it's a really special feeling.

"There was a lot to think about (when passing the line), like the lot that aren't here. It's a lucky gig to do this sort of thing as there are a lot of people who couldn't.

"It was quite frustrating when there was a lot of fuss for finishing third, anyone who is in this wants to win it and the attention then should have been on Jody (Sole) who won it, not on some one-legged bloke hobbling back in.

"It's just nice to go a few places better now."

Reflecting on the performance of Rathlin Rose, the rider said: "It was extraordinary. The horse does the hard work in these cases.

"He slightly took a half-circuit to get into it. The first jump after the first circuit, he really started settling into it then. I was happy there was plenty there.

"I didn't want to go on too soon, but he is a really classy horse."

Pipe was thrilled for the winning rider. "It's fantastic. Guy came down and schooled him last week. He jumps well and the horse is tailor made for the race," said the Pond House handler.

"They went off quick and Guy took his time and crept into it. It's a fantastic race to win.

"Guy's father picked me up off the floor when I was a jockey numerous times and it's nice to give something back."

Pipe added: "He's inspirational to everyone. It puts things into context. We all get wrapped up in our own little world and that's me included.

"The reception he got when he came back in was superb.

"I didn't appreciate how big a thing it is. Guy was very excited about it. He was speechless afterwards and just said 'thank you'."

Disney was initially not given his licence back and said he was grateful to a long list of people.

"From the moment I got injured, all along the way, I've had phenomenal support," he said.

Earlier on the card,  Colin's Sister continued her winning spree with a comprehensive success in the Weatherbys GSB Goes Online Jane Seymour Mares' Novices' Hurdle.

Colin's Sister could step out of novice company for a shot at the OLBG Mares' Hurdle at next month's Cheltenham Festival, with O'Brien not keen on dropping in distance for the Trull House Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle at the showpiece fixture.

Trainer Fergal O'Brien said: "We'll get her back and speak to Paddy. Do I go for the Mares' Hurdle, or keep to novice company as we have done all season?

"The mares' novice hurdle would be too short, unless it came up very soft. My heart is saying the David Nicholson, as that's the one we all want to win, but there's some very good mares in it. The Albert Bartlett could be another option.

"It might depend on the ground. Ideally she wants it soft, but even she found it hard work today."


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