34-year-old jockey Guy Disney has written his name in the history books after becoming the first amputee to win at a professional racecourse in Britain, claiming victory in the Royal Artillery Gold Cup on Friday at Sandown.
Disney, who came third in the same race in 2015 on the back of Ballyallia Man, is a former soldier who rides with a prosthetic leg after his vehicle was hit by a grenade when out on duty in Afghanistan back in 2009.
The jockey rode on Rathlin Rose this time around and won the extended three-mile contest from Ardkilly Witness by four-and-a-half lengths.
Disney labelled his victory ‘special’ and claimed he has been ‘phenomenally lucky’ after losing his leg eight years ago.
He said: “To ride a winner here is very, very special.
“I’ve been phenomenally lucky. I’ve been amazingly well looked after – people have had it far worse than I have. Some don’t make it back.
“It was quite frustrating when there was a lot of fuss for finishing third in 2015 – anyone who is in this wants to win it. It’s just nice to go a few places better now.”
Rathlin Rose’s trainer David Pipe later stated that Disney is ‘inspirational to everyone’ and that the jockey ‘was speechless’ following the race.
“It’s fantastic. He’s inspirational to everyone. It puts things into context.
“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’.”
It’s been a bumpy ride for Disney in his attempts to carry on riding, but as his victory on Friday proved, all the hard work has definitely paid off.