Pendleton set to fulfil Cheltenham dream

Fakenham Races, Victoria Pendleton taking part in the Betfair Switching Saddles Grassroots Fox Hunters Chase at 4.10 
Wearing Red/White/Black ANL-160220-091911009
Fakenham Races, Victoria Pendleton taking part in the Betfair Switching Saddles Grassroots Fox Hunters Chase at 4.10 Wearing Red/White/Black ANL-160220-091911009

Victoria Pendleton is set to realise her dream of riding in next week’s Cheltenham Festival after confirmation was announced of her inclusion this week.

The lifetime Mildenhall Cycling Club member declared her ambition to line up in the Amateurs’ Gold Cup at the jumps season’s championship meeting just over a year ago, with betting company Betfair backing her in a Switching Saddles challenge.

The 35-year-old who learnt the ropes in Newmarket has endured mixed fortunes, including being unseated from Pacha Du Polder in her first Hunter Chase at Fakenham, which prompted many in the sport to question if she was ready for the challenge.

However, the double Olympic cycling champion responded in emphatic fashion and virtually sealed her path to Cheltenahm last week when she posted a landmark success on board the same horse at Wincanton in her first success as an amateur jockey.

And after receiving the backing of Pacha Du Polder’s owner Andy Stewart, it has now been announced that Pendleton will now mount the general 16-1 shot for next Friday’s St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase on Gold Cup, over a distance of three miles and two and a half furlongs.