Olympic gold winner Victoria Pendleton rides at Fakenham

Victoria Pendleton and Mighty Mambo before riding in The George Frewer Celebration Sweepstake 'Pic Dan Abraham'Newbury 2.7.15
Victoria Pendleton and Mighty Mambo before riding in The George Frewer Celebration Sweepstake 'Pic Dan Abraham'Newbury 2.7.15
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Double Olympic gold medallist Victoria Pendleton CBE will ride at Fakenham Racecourse’s next meeting on Friday, February 19.

The cycling star, who recently switched to horse riding, will use the run-out as a build-up towards the Cheltenham Festival in March.

The news was revealed by leading National Hunt horse trainer Paul Nicholls, who has trained over 2000 winners, and has won the 2012 Grand National as well as four Cheltenham Gold Cups.

Nicholls has been supporting Pendleton - who won the gold medal in the keirin at the 2012 London Summer Olympics and 2008 gold in the sprint - in her campaign.

Nicholls said: “We can reveal that Victoria Pendleton will continue her countdown towards a tilt at the Cheltenham Festival by riding in her first Hunter Chase on Pacha Du Polder at Fakenham on February 19. “Fakenham is the logical target for Victoria and Pacha Du Polder after their excellent debut together when they failed by inches to land a point-to-point at Milborne St Andrew on January 31.

The alternative was for them to race together in another point-to-point. But, in my view, it is important for Victoria to gain experience in a Hunter Chase before considering a tilt at the ultimate challenge of riding in the St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham in March.

“The race over three miles at Fakenham, an easy track, looks ideal and comes at a perfect time before Cheltenham.

“I have to admit I was quite nervous when I first heard about Victoria’s bold plan to ride at Cheltenham in such a tight timetable as she had never sat on a horse a year ago.

“But... she sits quietly on a horse, is tidy over a fence and unbelievably determined.

“Should Victoria reach Cheltenham, her and Pacha Du Polder are more than capable of finishing in the first six which would be a superb achievement. But before that, Fakenham is another huge and important step in this incredible journey.”