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Amputee Veteran Guy Disney Wins Royal Artillery Gold Cup For Second Year In A Row

Sandown Park has hosted the annual Royal Artillery Gold Cup, a three-mile steeplechase for amateur jockeys who are either serving or who...

Pictures: Racing UK

Amputee veteran Guy Disney has made history by winning his second Royal Artillery Gold Cup in a row at Sandown Park.

The former Army captain rode 9-4 favourite Rathlin Rose, taking the lead from the final jump in the three-mile steeplechase for amateur military jockeys.

Disney became the first amputee jockey to win at a professional racecourse in Britain last year. 

He rides with a prosthetic lower right leg after being injured by a rocket-propelled grenade while serving with The Light Dragoons in Helmand Province in 2009.

Speaking to Racing UK after his win, Captain Disney said what a priviledge it was to ride at such "a special place";

"If you look back at however many years it has been going, there is such a connection between horses and the military.

"I think what's amazing is that a majority of people in this race have had time in Iraq, Afghan, Bosnia, wherever.

"What a chance to jump round somewhere like this. It's a real privilege, it really is - a special place."

Guy Disney
Picture: Racing UK

Former Army captain Jamie Snowden, now a trainer, brought leading contender Midnight Monty to the race, meanwhile.

Snowden won the race as a jockey four times (2003, 2005, 2006 2008) but was hoping to achieve a first training victory in the race.

Speaking earlier in the week, he said: "It's a very special race. I wouldn't be here training today if it wasn't for these military races.

"My time in the Army was brilliant but I was lucky enough to be let off to ride in and train for these races.

"These races put me in the spotlight to give me a launchpad to where we are today. I'm indebted to these races for that."

Hoping to steer Midnight Monty to victory for owners, The Cherry Pickers, was Major Harry Wallace, who had previously won the race twice. He said:

"He's such a nice horse. It was the first time I've schooled him but he gives you a great feel. Even for an amateur jockey like me, the earlier you can see a stride the better and he has such a nice way of going. The fences come nicely to you."

All eight members of the syndicate are ex-members of the King's Royal Hussars, with Midnight Monty bought to target the Sandown Park race as well as the Grand Military Gold Cup on March 9.

Royal Artillery

Speaking of the partnership, Snowden said: "There are very few partnerships which are set up with these races in mind.

"Nowadays a lot of people lease horses for the race but this partnership went out and bought this horse a year in advance with this as the end goal. It's very exciting."

Big fan of the races? Racing UK is offering all serving members of the British Armed Forces half-price membership.

The offer is also being extended to reservists, spouses and partners of serving personnel, HM Armed Forces veterans, MoD civil servants, bereaved family members, war/service widows and widowers, and NATO personnel in the UK - just click above to find out more.

With thanks to the Jockey Club for imagery. Cover image courtesy of the Honourable Artillery Company Regimental Band via Twitter.

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