Queen Vic Swaps Saddles For A Race Horse

Olympic gold medallist Victoria Pendleton has swapped her bike saddle for a new saddle – on a race horse.

Despite the change of ride, she has shown her champion qualities again, winning her first race over the sticks at Wincanton.

Queen Victoria, as she is known to colleagues, came in first on 5/4 favourite Pacha du Polder riding as an amateur jockey.

She won gold and silver for Team GB in the London Olympics 2012 and a clutch of other championships at the highest level as a sprint cyclist.

Pendleton, 35, retired from cycling shortly after the Olympics and has quickly taken to her new sport.

Winner over jumps

Pendleton notched her first win in racing at her third attempt – winning by an impressive 29 lengths after leading for the entire race.

She made her National Hunt horse racing debut at Fakenham on Pacha du Polder a couple of weeks earlier, but was unseated coming over one of the jumps.

This is the third time she has ridden Pacha du Polder in competition.

In January, she narrowly lost a point-to-point race at Milborne St Andrew in a photo-finish.

She aims to ride the horse in the Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham in a few weeks.

Besides riding over the sticks, Pendleton has notched second place in flat race on Royal Etiquette at Ripon in 2015.

Strictly not a dancer

Pendleton has had a mix of jobs since retiring from competitive cycling.

She featured on BBC TV’s Strictly Come Dancing, but had less success on the dancefloor than the race track, leaving the competition half way through.

A book about her life, Between The Lines, followed and she made a cameo appearance on ITV’s Emmerdale as an unwanted distraction in the marriage of characters Jimmy and Nicola King. The TV slot coincided with the start of the Tour de France in Yorkshire, where the soap is set.

Other commercial activities include promoting a new range of cycles, which she helped design, advertising haircare products and appearing in features for magazines FHM, Harper’s Bazaar and Esquire.

Pendleton also made a surprise appearance at the 2014 Tory Party conference to introduce Secretary of State for education Nicky Morgan.