Thumping maiden victory leaves Pendleton on track for Cheltenham Festival

Ross McLean
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Wincanton Races
Pendleton claimed victory on Pacha Du Polder at Wincanton by 29 lengths (Source: Getty)

Double Olympic cycling champion Victoria Pendleton did her chances of mounting Pacha Du Polder at the Cheltenham Festival no harm at all after completing a comprehensive victory on the 5/4 favourite at Wincanton.

Pendleton set out with the express intention of riding in the St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on Friday 18 March when embarking on a horse racing career just over a year ago.

Having been unseated at the seventh fence on her first start over regulation fences last month, her second ride under National Hunt Rules was anything but a disappointment as she romped home for her first victory as a jockey by 29 lengths.

“It was fantastic. I really just wanted a good round. I wanted to get round on the horse and give him a ride he deserved because he’s Pacha Du Polder and he’s a lovely horse,” said Pendleton.

The 35-year-old’s support team now face the decision of whether to partner Pendleton and Pacha Du Polder at the amateur equivalent of the Cheltenham Gold Cup later this month.

Pendleton added: “I will be doing some point to points [this weekend] and then I’ll see what the experts around me decide and I’ll go with their choice.”