Victoria Pendleton: Olympic cyclist wins first race as a jockey

Victoria Pendleton riding Pacha Du Polder at Wincanton
Victoria Pendleton has ridden in several point-to-point races this season after racing on the flat last summer

Victoria Pendleton won her first race as an amateur jockey on 5-4 favourite Pacha Du Polder at Wincanton.

Pendleton, 35, had been unseated from the same horse at Fakenham on her National Hunt debut 12 days earlier.

But the double Olympic cycling champion, who has been riding for just over a year, jumped well and led all the way to win by 29 lengths.

A decision on whether she rides in the Foxhunter Chase at the Cheltenham Festival will be made next Monday.

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Victoria Pendleton's first win as amateur jockey

"I will do some more point-to-points and see what the experts around me decide and I will go with their choice," said Pendleton. "But I will definitely be riding for the rest of the season."

Pendleton, who had come second in a flat race at Ripon last summer, stayed clear of trouble as she made all the running on the Paul Nicholls-trained gelding to comfortably win the hunter chase from the veteran Big Fella Thanks.

5 live In Short: Pendleton on "incredible" first win

She will again partner the nine-year-old Pacha Du Polder if she gets the go-ahead to compete at Cheltenham on 18 March.

Pendleton added: "In cycling, my performance was so monitored. I knew exactly my power output, the speed I'd try to be maintaining - everything was so specific, calculated and planned. When you get on a racehorse, everything else goes out the window.

"I really wanted to get round and give the horse the ride he deserved. I feel honoured to ride such a wonderful horse."

Analysis: Cornelius Lysaght, BBC horse racing correspondent

It looks increasingly likely that barely a year after taking up riding, and taking on the challenge of lining up at jump racing's Cheltenham Festival, Victoria Pendleton will contest the Foxhunter Chase.

A much more polished, less nervy performance at windswept Wincanton, leading all the way and never close to being unseated, saw her banish the memory of her recent fall.

No final decision about Cheltenham has been made but the endorsement of Pacha Du Polder's trainer Paul Nicholls that she is now "more than qualified" seems pretty ringing to me.

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