Sandown: Amputee soldier Guy Disney makes racing history

Guy Disney on Ballyallia Man
Captain Guy Disney on his way to third place on Ballyallia Man in the Royal Artillery Gold Cup at Sandown

Amputee soldier Captain Guy Disney has become the first jockey with an artificial leg to ride over fences in a race in Britain.

The 32-year-old, who was injured in Afghanistan, finished third on 11-2 chance Ballyallia Man at Sandown Park.

Disney lost his right leg from the knee down when on duty for the Light Dragoons.

He rode the horse for trainer Tom George in the Royal Artillery Gold Cup won by favourite Cowards Close.

Disney, from near Stow-on-the-Wold in Gloucestershire, was badly injured when his vehicle was struck by a grenade in Helmand province in July 2009.

The annual meeting at Sandown is more than 150 years old and restricted to horses that are owned or leased by those who are serving or have served in the Royal Artillery.

History man
Captain Disney joined Prince Harry during his trek to the South Pole with Walking With The Wounded in 2013
The Friday meeting at Sandown in February is more than 150 years old and restricted to horses owned or leased by current, or former, service personnel

Top jump jockey Ruby Walsh spoke to Disney before the race and said he was glad to have been at the track to witness his achievement.

"It's amazing. It just goes to show that any human being who puts their mind to something, can do it," Walsh, the Cheltenham Festival's all-time leading jockey, told the BBC.

"I'd say it was a bigger mental battle than it ever was physical. I tip my hat to that.

"To pick yourself up from that, I think the guy is an inspiration to most people."

George said he was delighted with the third-placed finish, and admired the jockey.

"It's great to be able to give him a ride. It's important and part of history really," said the trainer.

"You have to take your hat off to Guy. He's thinking of the future not the past. He's showing that you can still live your life and do what you want to."

Disney, who rode in the race twice before his injury, politely declined interviews after the race.

"I completely understand why he doesn't want the whole day about him," said winning jockey Lance Bombardier Jody Sole.

"It's about racing and I think it's brilliant. Why can't we have more like him, there's nothing to say we can't."

Guy Disney in the paddock at Sandown
Disney shares a joke in the paddock at Sandown
Jockey Guy Disney at Sandown
Disney and Ballyallia Man finished just over five lengths behind the winner
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, was at Sandown
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, was at Sandown to present trophies and met Disney after the race

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