Kiwi eventing legend Mark Todd and former top cyclist Victoria Pendleton will don jockey silks and take to the turf during tomorrow’s George Frewer Charity Race at Newbury racecourse (2 July).
The two Olympians, along with their nine rivals including former event rider Chris King and ex-point-to-point champion Mike Felton, will go head-to-head in the 1m5f race due off at 5.55pm.
Double Olympic gold medallist, Victoria, will be making her debut on a racecourse since revealing her challenge in March to go from top cyclist to jockey.
She has passed the required assessment of her riding and fitness at The British Racing School in Newmarket to allow her to ride in a competitive race. Her ultimate aim is to ride in the 2016 Cheltenham Foxhunter.
“It’s been four months since I partnered with Betfair and started to learn to ride,” said Victoria. “I’ve been training hard and working with a world-class team of experts — I am excited at the prospect of riding in a race, while feeling a bit nervous as well,” she added
The 34-year-old has been riding out at the Oxfordshire base of trainer Lawney Hill and is aboard the yard’s eight-year-old gelding Mighty Mambo for tomorrow’s contest.
“Victoria has been doing very well, riding out regularly, galloping and schooling the horses,” added Lawney. “We’ve been very happy with her progress and she’s putting everything into it — obviously she’s a true professional. After all the grind of the training you do to become an Olympic champion, I think she’s finding this refreshingly different,” she added.
Bookmakers Betfair currently have Victoria at 2/1 to finish in the top five.
The remaining line-up includes trainer Alan King’s personal assistant Charlotte Plunkett, Arabella Clegg, Thomas Benyon, Charlotte Pownall, Bobby Hall, Maisie Turner and Jacob Jelfs
The race, sponsored by the Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation, opens tomorrow’s Key4Life Charity Race Evening at the Berkshire racecourse.