BREAKING: Pendleton given go-ahead to fulfil Cheltenham Festival ambition

DREAMS REALISED: Victoria Pendleton has been given the go-ahead to ride Pacha Du Polder in the St Jamess Place Foxhunter Chase on Gold Cup day at the Cheltenahm Festival
DREAMS REALISED: Victoria Pendleton has been given the go-ahead to ride Pacha Du Polder in the St Jamess Place Foxhunter Chase on Gold Cup day at the Cheltenahm Festival

Victoria Pendleton will compete in next week’s Cheltenham Festival after confirmation she will ride Pacha Du Polder in the St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase on Gold Cup day, was announced today (Monday).

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 has endured mixed fortunes over the past few months 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 Pacha Du Polder at Wincanton in her first success as an amateur jockey.

And after receiving the backing of Pacha Du Polder’s owner Andy Stewart, Pendleton will now mount the general 16-1 shot for next week’s race over the Gold Cup distance of three miles and two and a half furlongs among around 20 runners.