Captain Guy Disney made history at Sandown Park on Friday (17 February) by becoming the first person to win a race under Rules wearing a prosthetic limb.
The 34-year-old amateur jockey lost his lower right leg after being injured when a rocket-propelled grenade hit his vehicle, while serving with the Light Dragoons in Afghanistan in July 2009.
Having ridden beforehand, remarkably, it didn’t take long for Guy to be back in the saddle and nor did it take long for his desire to race-ride emerge.
Even though it took considerable effort to convince the British Horseracing Authority to approve his amateur licence, it was finally granted.
Partnering the David Pipe-trained Rathlin Rose, Guy rode to victory on Friday in the Royal Artillery Gold Cup — a race restricted to riders who have represented the Armed Forces.
“To ride a winner round here is very special and I’ve been phenomenally lucky. I’ve been amazingly looked after since I got injured, people have had it far worse than I have — some don’t make it back,” Guy said following the race.
“To get back on the course and to get a ride for the Pipe stable is also very special.”
In 2015, Guy finished third in the same race, behind Jody Sole.
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“It was quite frustrating when there was a lot of excitement for finishing third but anyone who is in this wants to win it. The attention then should have been on Jody, who won it — not on some one-legged bloke sort of hobbling back in. It’s just nice to go to a few places better now.”
Guy, who also rides in point-to-points and has a specially adapted stirrup, added: “From the moment I got injured — and we lost a lad that day — I’ve had fantastic support from the racing world.
“I came back to Bastion, where what was left was chopped off. I got back home and started physio quite quickly.
“I rode in a charity race for Kim Bailey then had a go at getting a licence and got quite a resounding no,” Guy reflected.
“I was very lucky to meet David Carey — who’s a doctor retraining to be a barrister — and he helped me put a case together to get it [the licence back]. The Pipes also very kindly gave me Swing Bill to have as a pointer, who is just phenomenal.”