Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton was narrowly denied her first point-to-point victory this weekend (31 January) when she was beaten by a head.

Victoria finished second from 12 runners at Milborne St Andrew in Dorset.

She was riding nine-year-old gelding Pacha Du Polder, owned by the Stewart Family.

Victoria and Pacha Du Polder took up the running with a circuit to go, but was caught on the line by Queens Bay, ridden by Bryony Frost.

“It’s hard to put into words how exciting the race to the line was. I owe a great deal to Pacha Du Polder, he gave me a great ride today and it’s been a pleasure to get the chance to sit on a horse of his ability,” said Victoria.

It was her seventh ride, and her best result so far.

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Pacha Du Polder was formerly trained by National Hunt trainer Paul Nicholls. The horse is now in training with Chloe Roddick in Somerset, and is Victoria’s potential mount for her Cheltenham Foxhunter debut in March.

The run was part of her “Switching Saddles” challenge set by Betfair last year.

Victoria, who retired from competitive cycling after London 2012, was set the challenge by Betfair last year to start riding and secure an amateur jockeys licence.

The company also wanted to provide an “unexpected and entertaining perspective on horseracing, while also profiling the skills, athleticism and courage faced by jockeys every day”.

Having never sat on a horse before last year, the ultimate aim is for Victoria to take part in the Foxhunter at the Cheltenham.

“I would like to thank all involved with the support team Betfair have provided to help train me in this challenge, I now can’t wait for my next ride. It’s such a buzz,” said Victoria.

Barry Orr, of Betfair, added: “We are delighted for Victoria and today marks a significant step forward in her challenge. It was a competitive race to ride in, but she once again displayed a riding ability that belies her time in the saddle and highlights her dedication to the challenge.”

For full report don’t miss this week’s issue of H&H — out Thursday 4 February.