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Victoria Pendleton's got Cheltenham Festival fever

By Nick Robinson

Double Olympic cycling champion Victoria Pendleton will take the next step towards the Cheltenham Festival when she has her second competitive ride at Beverley on Tuesday.

It was confirmed last night that Pendleton will once again partner the Lawney Hill-trained Royal Etiquette in the Betfair Supports Amateur Riders Handicap after making her debut at Ripon last month.

The eight-year-old gelding, who is owned by Hill's husband, Alan, was beaten just a head behind 33-1 chance Jordaura on that occasion.

The Hill team has worked closely with Pendleton since the 34-year-old embarked on a quest to become an amateur jockey earlier this year, with the goal of competing in the Foxhunter Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Pendleton had her first raceday experience in the George Frewer Charity Race at Newbury in July, finishing eighth aboard the Hill-trained Mighty Mambo.

Britain's most successful female Olympian then gained clearance to ride competitively at Ripon after she was awarded a Category A amateur riders licence at the end of last month following a two-day assessment at the British Racing School in Newmarket.

Pendleton said: "When I started (seven months ago) I couldn't ride a horse.

"There is something special about riding in a race, the energy from the crowd really hits you as you enter the home straight and you can feel yourself and the horse reacting to that," Pendleton added.

"All the early mornings and hours of training are worth it for that feeling alone."

Today's meeting at Yarmouth was abandoned after yesterday's card was called off with three races still to run following heavy rain which, coupled with quick ground, raised safety concerns.

Rogue Angel, ridden by Ger Fox and trained by Mouse Morris, snatched the spoils in the Kerry National at Listowel, while David Casey made his last ever ride a winning one with victory on Long Dog two races later.

Belfast Telegraph


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