Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton has won her first race as a jockey.
Victoria won by 29 lengths with the Paul Nicholls-trained Pacha Du Polder in a hunter chase at Wincanton this afternoon (Wednesday 2 March).
It was only her second ride under Rules, after she was unseated from Pacha Du Polder at Fakenham last month (19 February).
The pair, who were sent off 5-4 favourite today, made all the running and were ahead by around nine lengths coming to the last fence.
They finished well clear of Big Fella Thanks, while Blindling Lights was a further seven lengths behind in third.
A decision on whether she partners the nine-year-old gelding, owned by the Stewart Family, in the Foxhunter at Cheltenham on 18 March is to be made on Monday (7 March).
“It was fantastic,” she said. “I really just wanted a good round. I wanted to get round on the horse and give him a ride he deserved. I feel very honoured and lucky to be allowed to ride such a wonderful animal.
“I will do some more point-to-points and see what the experts around me decide and I will go with their choice. But I will definitely be riding for the rest of the season.”
The run was part of her “Switching Saddles” campaign set up by Betfair last year.
Victoria, who retired from competitive cycling after London 2012, was set the challenge to start riding and secure an amateur jockeys licence.
The company 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 Festival. She has had training from experts including Yogi Breisner along the way.
After being unseated at Fakenham Victoria received criticism, with some industry figures questioning whether she was ready for Cheltenham.
However, after today’s ride Paul Nicholls told Racing UK: “She jumped well and rode him well. She looked competent. We will all get together and make a decision early next week.”