Pendleton confirmed to ride Pacha Du Polder
Ruby Walsh has given the thumbs up to Victoria Pendleton’s bid to ride Pacha Du Polder at Cheltenham next week.
The all-time leading rider at the four-day Festival that marks the high point of the National Hunt season, told the Paddy Power Blog: “I think it’s great what Victoria is trying to do. She’s competitive, is used to winning gold medals at the Olympic Games and now wants a shot at racing’s Olympics.
Victoria clearly gets a real buzz out of race-riding and loves what she’s doing so fair play to her.
The dual Olympic Gold medal-winning cyclist recorded her first success as an amateur jockey aboard Pacha Du Polder at Wincanton last week and connections announced on Monday that the partnership would target the 3m 2f Foxhunters Chase on Friday week, when the curtain comes down on the four-day Festival.
And while Walsh will have to contend with the pressure-cooker atmosphere of riding some big names and short-priced favourites like Min, Douvan and Annie Power at Cheltenham, he knows better than most the scale of the task Pendleton faces.
“The Foxhunters Chase is a tough race to win. There’ll be a lot of runners but as a high-performance athlete she should be as fit – if not fitter – than a lot of the other amateur riders taking part,” Walsh said.
It will be the most competitive race she’s ever ridden in to date as there’s always plenty of runners. It’s also going to be the biggest live audience she’s ever performed in front of, as there’ll be up to 70,000 people at the racecourse cheering the horses home on Cheltenham Gold Cup day.
“If I was to offer any advice it would just to go out there and enjoy it. It should be a thrilling experience.”