pENDLETON hits back at critics

Fakenham Races, Victoria Pendleton taking part in the Betfair Switching Saddles Grassroots Fox Hunters Chase at 4.10 
Wearing Red/White/Black ANL-160220-092132009
Fakenham Races, Victoria Pendleton taking part in the Betfair Switching Saddles Grassroots Fox Hunters Chase at 4.10 Wearing Red/White/Black ANL-160220-092132009

Victoria Pendleton has hit back at calls to end her horse racing career from former jump jockey champion John Francome, writes Alex Moss.

The Olympic cyclist-turned-jockey, who is a lifetime member of Mildenhall Cycling Club, received criticism after being unseated in her first ride under rules on Pacha Du Polder at Fakenham on Friday, sparking Francome to tell At The Races ‘she can’t ride and she’s an accident waiting to happen’ before adding, ‘she wants stopping before she hurts herself’.

But Pendleton was back in action on Sunday at Higham, where she posted a clear round on Minella Theatre to finish last of six in the Ladies’ Open.

The 35-year-old then responded to the comments from Francome and other professionals who had suggested she was not ready to ride at Cheltenham.

“If it’s not meant to be this year then it’s not meant to be,” she told the Racing Post. “It makes no odds if I do it again another time and I’d like to see anyone else give it a go and get this far.

“Whatever happens I’ll continue pointing as I really enjoy it. If you take a sports career you have to expect people to judge you - it’s water off a duck’s back.”

More Pendleton: page 152