Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Victoria Pendleton finishes second in first competitive ride as jockey

Former track cyclist recently secured her amateur jockey’s licence

Victoria Pendleton finished second on her debut as an amateur jockey, losing by just a head after leading for most of the final three furlongs. The two-time Olympic champion, who retired from track cycling in 2012, is aiming to race in the Foxhunter Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Pendleton rode in a charity event at Newbury in July, but this was her first ride since receiving her amateur jockey’s licence which was approved last week by the British Horseracing Authority after she passed a two-day assessment.

She rode Royal Etiquette, a 14-1 chance in an 11 furlong race at Ripon and told The Guardian how she was reduced to unconventional tactics to get the most out of her horse. “I was pushing with everything I had and lost my balance a bit on the undulations, which was frustrating, and I ended up just shouting at him to keep him going.”

Pendleton said that training for her new goal gives her the main thing she had been missing about no longer being a cyclist.

“The thing I missed most of all was the routine. It’s getting out of bed every morning and having something to work towards, physically and mentally to push yourself to be better every day. I’ve really missed that and for me it was always more about the training, it wasn’t necessarily about the racing as much.

“It’s like personal development on a major scale. Can I be faster, can I be fitter, can I think and be smarter, increase my reaction speed and decision-making? All these things I was working and working on to be the best, and then one day you wake up and you don’t have to be any better than you were the day before because it’s all done.”

She says that working her way up in a different sport presents a whole new challenge. “Every day I learn something new or acquire a new confidence in what I’m doing, and it feels like a reward.”

Pendleton has attracted criticism from some in horse racing who feel she has been given preferential treatment that a young rider couldn’t expect. However, while admitting that she has ‘jumped the queue’ Pendleton also points out that she ‘put in the legwork in a different arena to get here’ and adds that one of the main reasons for embarking on the project is to try and bring a different audience to the sport.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

Latest Comments