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Emotional win for army veteran

Afghan war veteran Captain Guy Disney has reflected on his historic success in the Royal Artillery Gold Cup at Sandown eight years after losing his lower right leg.

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 Helmand 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.

He steered Ballyallia Man to third place in the 2015 Artillery Cup 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 three-mile (4800m) contest.

As the pacesetters faltered, Rathlin Rose hit the front on the run to the second-last jump and was driven out to score comfortably.

“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,” Disney said.

“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.

“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.”

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,” he said.

“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.”

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