Victoria Pendleton sets sights on Foxhunters' Chase at Cheltenham

Victoria Pendleton riding in a point-to-point
Victoria Pendleton finished second in a flat race at Ripon during the summer

Competing as a jump jockey at the Cheltenham Festival will be like winning the Olympics, former sprint cyclist Victoria Pendleton has said.

The double Olympic champion, 35, retired from cycling after London 2012.

She is now training as a jockey with a view to riding in next March's amateur Foxhunters' Chase at Cheltenham.

"Making it to Cheltenham in such a short space of time could be the hardest thing I've ever done," Pendleton said.

Pendleton started training nine months ago under the guidance of Alan and Lawney Hill and instructor Yogi Breisner.

The former cyclist rode in a number of flat races during the summer and went over jumps for the first time last weekend in a point-to-point event which saw her pull up two fences from the finish.

She plans to ride regularly in point-to-point races during the winter before hoping to compete at Cheltenham.

Pendleton told the Guardian: "I trust Alan and Lawney and Yogi totally and if we're coming close to Cheltenham and they say 'You're just not ready,' I'll take their advice.

"I understand the challenge is ridiculous but I'd really like to get there.

"A lot of young, eager, fearless individuals are trying to get to the Foxhunters' and I'm none of those.

"So if I get to line up at that race I will be so happy. If I clear one fence I will be delighted. If I make it back in one piece I will be thrilled. It will be phenomenal. It will be like winning the Olympics."

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