Vic back in the saddle

Published: Wednesday 1st July 2015 by The News Editor

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Victoria Pendleton is set to embark on a new career at Newbury racecourse on Thursday evening when she makes her debut as an amateur jockey.

The double Olympic cycling champion announced in March her aim was to ride in the Foxhunter Chase at next year’s Cheltenham Festival and has undergone months of intensive training from a team of experts recruited by bookmaker Betfair.

Her first goal, though, is to ride at Newbury in the George Frewer Charity Race over one mile and five furlongs.

Speaking last month, Pendleton said: “The first time I sat on a race horse and didn’t fall off was a relief. The first time I cantered on the gallops was exhilarating, and the first time I jumped in the riding school and schooled over brush fences were hugely satisfying and exciting steps for me.

“The last few months haven’t all been plain sailing, though. Getting initially used to, and then learning to jump in a racing saddle, was very different and challenging, and I’d be fibbing if I said I haven’t fallen off a few times along the way.

“I have to say taking part in this charity race, back in a competitive environment, will probably top my other experiences on this journey to date.”

Eventing guru Yogi Breisner has provided the 34-year-old with expert tuition, while former event rider Chris King has helped with her non-racing equestrian skills.

Breisner said: “The timing of Newbury’s charity event provided a challenging, yet realistic, target to aim for and the race is run at a distance of one and a half miles which is long enough to provide Victoria with an opportunity to take in and learn from the unique experience of riding in a race.

“It’s a key milestone if we are to hit our target of Victoria successfully obtaining her Category A licence, with a view to riding at Cheltenham next year.”

Published: Wednesday 1st July 2015 by The News Editor

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