Amateur jockey Guy Mitchell enjoyed a day he will never forget after creating history at Goodwood by becoming the first rider with one eye to ride a winner under rules in Britain.
The 46-year-old – who is the racecourse doctor at the Sussex track – secured the landmark victory on his fourth ride since gaining a riding licence last year.
Partnering 50-1 chance The Game Is On in division one of the Gay Kindersley Amateur Jockeys’ Handicap, Mitchell and the Simon Dow-trained gelding were a length too strong for Uther Pendragon.
Mitchell – who is the son of former trainer Philip and brother of Flat jockey Jack – said: “I nearly fell off at the start. They said ‘blinds off’ and I had one hand on the blind and the other on the reins and he just went with them and I went slightly out the side door a bit.
“I could hear Serena (Brotherton, on the runner-up) coming, but he stayed on to my surprise. It was utter disbelief crossing the line, as I’ve waited a long time for that.”
Having applied for his riding licence on several occasions since the age of 16, Mitchell, who lost his right eye after a tumour developed at the age of three, is now keen to taste glory at a number of other tracks following his latest success.
He added: “I’ve always wanted to ride at the track where I work as a doctor and I’ve ridden here and at Windsor. Ascot is next so if anyone wants to give me a ride there in October I’m all over it.
“I’ve had a winner, so if I get more that would be fab and I’d like to ride in the Amateur Derby. I know it’s not the race it used to be, but I’d still like to ride in it.”
Happy Power (9-4) formed the highlight of a treble for trainer Andrew Balding when holding Toro Strike at bay by a neck to claim a first Pattern-race success in the feature Group Three Ladbrokes Supreme Stakes.
Balding said: “I’m glad he has now won a Group race. It was good to get him to win at Salisbury and this is much more like we know he can do.
“He wouldn’t have any problems dropping back to a stiff six furlongs or going an easy mile.
“I would think the most likely thing he goes for now is the Challenge Stakes.”
Levy Board chairman Paul Darling celebrated a winner on his first racecourse visit since March as the Balding-trained Classic Lord landed the Ladbrokes Watch Racing Online For Free Maiden Auction Stakes.
Darling, who is part of winning syndicate Park House Partnership, said of the Oisin Murphy-ridden 8-1 shot: “I didn’t fancy him after his first run, but I had a tenner on just in case!
“It was a marvellous performance and Oisin said he thought he would like the ground. He looks a nice prospect.
“It’s my first day on track since the Cheltenham Gold Cup.”
Champion jockey Murphy and Balding teamed up for further success with Elham Valley (11-4), who ran out a decisive winner of the Chichester City Selling Stakes.
Urban Artist completed a hat-trick for Murphy when registering a poignant victory aboard the Hughie Morrison-trained Urban Artist (7-2) in the Ladbrokes Best Odds Guaranteed Fillies’ Handicap.
Morrison said: “Tim Billington, who was one of her owner-breeders, very sadly died earlier this month which was a bit of a shock. It is great his belief and plans have once again come to fruition.
“Tim was a very good friend. We had a lot fun times together, not just on the racing front. It is great his widow Gemma is here today.”