Richard Dunwoody turned the tables on his Strictly Come Dancing partner Lilia Kopylova this week, by taking her riding.

The former three-times champion jockey is one of 16 celebrities learning to dance on the popular BBC One series.

On Tuesday Richard took Lilia for a canter on the turf at Wimbledon Village Stables. And the professional Russian dancer took to riding like a natural.

Her balance was good, she was getting the rising trot and really loving it,” said Liz Ampairee, Richard Dunwoody’s spokesman.

She wants to learn to ride — and would have been cantering if the BBC let her!”

As well as teaching Lilia to ride, Richard had to gallop his chestnut horse for the cameras — for a show to be broadcast this weekend.

“He’s practising every hour of the day,” said Liz. “He’s found it very hard — but Richard being Richard he’s put everything into it.”

The 45-year-old former jockey will perform the waltz on Friday’s Strictly Come Dancing and the cha cha cha on Saturday.

In an interview with Racing Post TV, he said: “With horseracing, there’s no absolutely correct way — you can’t say that Tony McCoy is doing it right, or Ruby Walsh is doing it right. Whereas with dancing, you have to get it absolutely right — and it’s tough.”

He admitted to waking up in the night and going through his steps. And despite his dedication, Richard is still a rank outsider with the bookies.

“The racing and the horse industry must vote for him on Strictly Come Dancing,” added Liz. “He really is getting better.”