• Racing/
  • Fairytale Win For Disney

Royal Artillery Gold Cup (Military Amateur Riders' Chase) 3m 37y

  • (6yo+, 3m 37y, Class 3, 7 runners)
  • Winner £7,798 2nd £2,290 3rd £1,145 4th £572
  • Going: Soft (Good to Soft in places , Heavy in places down hill)
  • Surface: Turf
Weighed In:
  • Winning time: 6m 38.50s
  • Off time: 15:15:39
  • Last Updated: February 17 2017, 17:43 GMT

Afghan war veteran Captain Guy Disney reflected on an "extraordinary" success after claiming Royal Artillery Gold Cup glory at Sandown eight years after losing his lower right leg.

Guy Disney: Landed a famous success at Sandown
Guy Disney: Landed a famous success at Sandown

Disney lost his right leg below the knee after being injured when his vehicle was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade while he was serving in Helmond Province, Afghanistan in July 2009.

His initial application to ride with a prosthetic limb was turned down by the British Horseracing Authority, but he was eventually granted a licence a couple of years ago and steered Ballyallia Man to third place in the 2015 renewal of this prestigious contest, which is confined to military amateur riders.

Disney's latest mount, the David Pipe-trained Rathlin Rose, was the 13/8 favourite and the 34-year-old rider was content to bide his time for much of the extended three-mile contest.

As the pacesetters faltered, Rathlin Rose hit the front on the run to the second-last and was driven out to score by four and a half lengths from Ardkilly Witness.

Disney 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'."