Racecourse medic rides first winner after waiting 30 years for licence
GB: An extraordinary piece of racing history was made at Goodwood on Sunday [August 30] when one-eyed amateur jockey Guy Mitchell fulfilled a lifelong dream to ride a winner.
Mitchell, 46, is a GP who also works as a racecourse doctor at the beautiful West Sussex venue. Having only his fourth ride, he steered the Simon Dow-trained The Game Is On to a one-length victory in an amateur riders’ handicap – both to his own surprise and to that of the betting market, which rated his mount a 50-1 chance.
“I knew the horse was in good form, but untried on this ground which was a complete unknown,” he said. “Much to my utter surprise when I asked him to pick up, up the middle of the track, he did.
“I thought ‘Oh my goodness, he’s actually making ground on them’. All of a sudden I found myself in front. It was very odd, it all went very quiet and the line couldn’t come too soon because I was absolutely spent.”
Mitchell lost his right eye aged three when a tumour was discovered behind it and he had to have the eye removed.
Nevertheless, having been born into a racing family as the son of trainer Philip Mitchell, who was also a champion amateur, he learned to ride from a very young age.
At 16 he submitted his first application for an amateur licence but was repeatedly turned down, even though he played other sports. Then last year, 30 years after he first applied, he secured clearance to ride after passing a rigorous assessment.
Mitchell’s nearest pursuer at Goodwood was well-fancied Uther Pendragon under Serena Brotherton, who challenged on his right, his blindside. “I couldn’t see Serena without a glance that way but I could hear her and I could feel her,” said Mitchell.
“You use all your five senses. All I knew I had to keep my horse straight and keep him going because he was getting tired. I am elated and in disbelief as well.”
• Visit the Goodwood website