Victoria Pendleton prepares for her debut as a jockey

Olympic cyclist on track for Newbury race

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Victoria Pendleton Trains for Amateur Riding Debut at Newbury

Double Olympic cycling champion Victoria Pendleton is planning to make her debut as an amateur jockey at Newbury next month. Her ultimate aim is to compete at the Cheltenham Festival in 2016.

But first, on July 2 this year, she will ride in the George Frewer Charity Race in a field of 12 riders. It'll be the first time she has tested her skills in a competitive race.

The Newbury race will be a major milestone in her quest to ride in the Foxhunters Chase at Cheltenham, but for now the 34-year-old will set her sights on navigating along a mile and five furlongs.

Pendleton is partnered by online betting company Betfair, and Britain's most successful female Olympian is excited about taking the first step in her journey as an amateur jockey, reports the Daily Mail.

'I knew it'd be one of the biggest challenges I've faced but I've already enjoyed so many exciting experiences,' she said. 'The first time I sat on a race horse and didn't fall off was a relief, the first time I cantered on the gallops was exhilarating.

'Although I have to say taking part in this Charity race, back in a competitive environment, will probably top my other experiences on this journey to date.'

Four months of intensive training - riding out five times a week in Oxfordshire - have placed Pendleton firmly in the saddle of her dreams, and the former track cyclist admitted her quest to ride at Cheltenham has been far from a smooth ride.

She said: 'Getting initially used to and then learning to jump in a racing saddle was very different and challenging, and I'd be fibbing if I said I haven't fallen off a few times along the way.'

Pendleton quickly mastered basic Equestrian training under the guidance of Yogi Breisner, Performance Manager for Team GB, and has gone on to complete an intensive riding course at the British Riding School.