Olympian Pendleton ready for Ripon ride

Victoria Pendleton at Newbury

Victoria Pendleton rides at Ripon on Monday

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)  

VICTORIA PENDLETON will have an exposed but rock-solid partner in Royal Etiquette when Britain’s most successful female Olympian has her first ride under rules at Ripon on Monday.

Pendleton, who finished eighth in a charity race at Newbury in July, has been riding out for Lawney Hill, who trains eight-year-old Royal Etiquette, a winner of three of his 58 starts.

The double Olympic sprint cycling champion’s main goal is to ride in the Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham in March, and she takes the next step against 14 other amateurs in Monday’s Betfair-backed Flat handicap.

Hill said on Sunday: “Victoria’s ridden Royal Etiquette a lot at home and knows him. She feels confident on him and one thing we’ve learned working with [equine jumping expert] Yogi Breisner is it’s very important if you’re an inexperienced rider, let alone jockey, to get a bond with the horse.

“She likes to get her head around what she’s doing and get mentally psyched up, and that’s why she was such a successful athlete – I’ve never known anyone with a work ethic like it. She hasn’t lost any of that drive.”

The trainer continued: “Royal Etiquette is in great form. He’s exposed and his form is there for all to see. He’s a safe, solid ride and he’s won for Leonna Mayor and Kirsty Milczarek first time up, and likes lady jockeys first time so you never know.

“He’ll be reliable. Victoria can get to the start without being run away with, and he won’t run away with her in the race.”

Pendleton’s participation has helped increase interest in Ripon’s card, according to managing director James Hutchinson.

He said: “We’ve had quite a few photographers express interest. It’s a great opportunity for the racecourse and racing in general to showcase itself. We’ll do our best to make sure it comes across well.”


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