Double Olympic gold medal winner Victoria Pendleton, has confirmed she will ride at this year’s Cheltenham Festival. Pendleton will ride ,Pacha Du Polder in the Foxhunters Chase on Friday 18th March. Pendleton who began her riding career only 12 months ago, after retiring from cycling. Pendleton linked up with champion trainer Paul Nicholls, who trains Pacha Du Polder last month at Fakenham. Pacha Du Polder was sent off the race favourite, but the race didn’t go according to plan. Pendleton was unseated, and the speculation grew that maybe Pendleton wasn’t ready yet to take on the biggest Festival in the UK. Pendleton put the setback behind her, as she won at Wincanton two weeks ago, but was unseated again this weekend in a point to point.
But at a press conference this morning Pendleton sat alongside Nicholls and confirmed that the would be in the saddle for the Foxhunters at Cheltenham. “We have always had the extremely ambitious target of riding competitively in the Foxhunters as our goal, so to be announcing that I have achieved this goal is truly amazing feeling.” Pendleton told the media. Trainer Nicholls and his team made had the final decision on Pendleton. “ Wincanton was a big day and it went very well.” “ Victoria’s improvement month on month has been fantastic, she’s well ready for the challenge.” “At the start I was a little skeptical whether she would be able to do this in a short space of time, but she has got her head down and worked very hard.” Nicholls said.
Pendleton have been given the backing for jump racing great Sir AP McCoy, but former champion jump jockey John Francome has called Pendleton “ an accident waiting to happen.” Only time will tell if Pendleton is ready for the challenge of Cheltenham.