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Published: 12:09 | 7/3/16

Pendleton to ride at Cheltenham

Former Olympian Victoria Pendleton will ride in the Foxhunters Chase at the Cheltenham Festival next week.

The double Olympic gold medal-winner only began riding just over a year ago as 'switching saddles' campaign with a view to riding at the Cheltenham Festival as an amateur jockey.

Her participation at Cheltenham was thrown into doubt when she was unseated from Pacha Du Polder at Fakenham on February, causing some to suggest that she may not be ready to compete at the National Hunt Festival.

She silenced her critics by partnering Pacha Du Polder to a comfortable victory at Wincanton last week and despite being unseated at a point-to-point meeting on Saturday, it has been confirmed that she will ride in the Foxhunters Chase.

"Wincanton was a big day and it went well," Pacha Du Polder's trainer Paul Nicholls told a press conference on Monday.

"Victoria's improvement month-to-month has been fantastic, she's well ready for the challenge."

Pendleton told reporters: "We have always had the extremely ambitious target of riding competitively in the Foxhunter as our goal, so to be announcing that I have achieved this goal is a truly amazing feeling.

"It is not a decision I have taken lightly - I feel capable of being part of that race. The whole journey has been a remarkable experience and I have a lot of lasting memories from the last 12 months.

"I would also like to add that I'm delighted that the Stewart family has kindly made Pacha Du Polder available for Cheltenham.

"It's great that an owner of Andy's stature is putting his faith in me to ride one of his horses in such a significant race."

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