Victoria Pendleton Cheltenham fate to be revealed

Victoria Pendleton faces the crucial moment in her Cheltenham Festival quest today as a decision on whether she will ride in the St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase will be announced at a press conference in London.

Victoria Pendleton Cheltenham fate to be revealed

The dual Olympic cycling champion declared her intention to line up in the amateurs’ Gold Cup at Cheltenham just over a year ago, with Betfair backing her ‘Switching Saddles’ challenge.

Her path to the Festival has been far from smooth, but she posted a landmark success aboard her possible Foxhunter ride Pacha Du Polder at Wincanton on Wednesday, although she was unseated at a point-to-point on Saturday.

Her Wincanton victory came just under two weeks after Pendleton had been unshipped from Pacha Du Polder at Fakenham and there has been much discussion around her capability to ride at the showpiece meeting, with former champion jockey John Francome describing her as “an accident waiting to happen”.

A panel, which includes Pacha Du Polder’s trainer Paul Nicholls, jumping guru Yogi Breisner and Lawney and Alan Hill, from whose yard she has been riding out, are heavily involved in the decision process.

Pendleton has so far adopted a pragmatic approach to the issue of Cheltenham and is happy to defer to her team in terms of a Festival call.

She said: “I trust and have faith in the experts around me to make the right decision.

“I’ll be happy with whatever decision they choose.”

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox