Thursday 14 December 2017

Betfair give Pendleton gift of a horse for point-to-points

Victoria Pendleton rides Pacha Du Polder at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival . Photo: Mike Egerton/PA
Victoria Pendleton rides Pacha Du Polder at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival . Photo: Mike Egerton/PA
Victoria Pendleton

Betfair will give Victoria Pendleton According To Sarah as a gift for her to ride in point-to-points for making such a success of the 'switching saddles' campaign.

The presentation will be made after the dual Olympic cycling champion has ridden the eight-year-old mare in a ladies' open race at Kimble in Buckinghamshire tomorrow.

The gesture by the betting exchange - which backed the challenge - comes a week after Pendleton achieved her objective of riding in the St James's Place Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham.

In finishing fifth in the amateur riders' Gold Cup on the Paul Nicholls-trained Pacha Du Polder, Pendleton exceeded expectations.

A year ago she had not even sat on a horse yet took to the challenge with tremendous enthusiasm, progressing from a charity Flat race to amateur races last summer, then point-to-points and winning a hunter chase before competing at the Festival

"She's fallen in love with According To Sarah," said Betfair's Barry Orr.

"She's absolutely mad about the horse and we are making a present of her to Victoria and she will continue to ride her in point-to-points as she sees fit.

"She's completed the campaign in terms of the challenge we set out, but we will continue to have a relationship, for sure.

"I think it's fair to say it exceeded our expectations - it was such an audacious challenge, but with someone like her involved, and when you get the experts around, you give it every chance to succeed.

"She was the deciding factor in its success in that her commitment and dedication to the challenge was unwavering.

"She's been a fantastic ambassador for us, but she's also been a fantastic ambassador for women in sport.

"Friday was sensational and the joy of watching the race with her mother and her husband - it's been a great 12 months.

"Friday wasn't really going to define the whole campaign. She had won just by getting there.

"The icing on the cake and the jam on top of that with a nice cherry was being able to give the horse such a good ride at Cheltenham."

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