Disney completes remarkable horse racing double
Guy Disney lost his leg in 2009 whilst serving in Afghanistan. He has just become the first horse racing jockey with an artificial leg ever to win a race.
By Steve Whyley / 16 March 2017
2 min read
Whilst serving in Afghanistan, Guy Disney lost his right leg below the knee after his vehicle was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.
Disney has always had a love of horses, having had about 80 rides before losing his leg in Helmand Provice in 2009.
Having seen Sarah Stafford become the first jockey with an artificial leg compete as a jockey, over fences, a seed was planted.
"She played a major part in helping me get my racing license back, and I will always be eternally grateful to her for that," said Disney, who had several horses with the trainer."
Disney set about trying to get his license back which proved a near impossible task. The British Horseracing Authority put him through a series of rigorous tests before allowing him back in the saddle.
Horse racing over fences is split into two parts - there's point-to-point which is a form of amateur horse racing. And then there's racing over rules which is what you and I would see on television - it's regulated and follows strict standards that one must adhere to.
Disney won a point-to-point in April 2015 and that same year came 3rd in a race over rules, having steered Ballyallia Man in the Royal Artillery Gold Cup. This third place was the subject of much fanfare given this was the best performance of any jockey with an artificial leg. Disney was less impressed however "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."
Just two days ago Disney was back in the news for he had completed a historic winning double. First, he won the race that he'd previously come third in, on the David Pipe trained horse Rathlin Rose. And then, just two weeks later, he steered the same horse to win the Grand Military Gold Cup.
Disney had given the horse a canny ride, keeping him in touch all the way through before pouncing two fences from home after horses up front began to tire.
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."
Guy Disney is a lesson in perseverance and making the very best of a truly awful situation. We hope you get to hear his name again in the future, and you'd be a brave person to bet against it.