After Victoria Pendleton was unseated on her first ride around a professional jumps track on Friday, some are calling for her to call off her Cheltenham Festival ambitions

Victoria Pendleton’s hopes of riding at next month’s Cheltenham Festival were dashed when she was unseated from her horse at Fakenham on Friday, and one horse racing great believes she should leave the sport altogether.

Former National Hunt Champion jockey John Francome, current analyst with Channel 4, says Pendleton is an “accident waiting to happen”, with the general consensus appearing to be that the Olympic cycling champion was not ready to ride at one of horse racing’s biggest meetings in March.

Pendleton switched saddles in partnership with betting company Betfair, with the challenge to ride at Cheltenham after just a year of riding, but Francome says she could end up seriously hurt.

“She wants saving from herself,” Francome told the Guardian on Saturday – the day after Pendleton’s first outing over fences on a professional track. “I’ve never met her, she seems a lovely girl but she can’t ride and she’s an accident waiting to happen.

“She could have fallen off at any fence. It’s not just about Cheltenham, she could come off on a Sunday afternoon at a point to point. She wants stopping before she hurts herself.”


Footage of Pendleton’s fall from At The Races


>>> Victoria Pendleton: I’m back on my bike and now I can just enjoy it

Pendleton is scheduled to race again on Pacha Du Polder, from who she was unseated on Friday, at Wincanton on March 2, where the aim will simply be to get around the track without falling.

“Between us all, we are going to have a sit down and talk about it and make sure we all do the right thing,” Paul Nicholls, the trainer of Pacha Du Polder, told the Guardian. “If we’re not happy, we’re not happy, but if she can get a nice, clear round in a fortnight’s time and everything goes right, then we’d be back on track.

“She got unseated, it happens to us all, but she’s got to look at it, learn from it and gain experience. It was just a bit of an unfortunate incident. She’s a novice rider and she’s done very well in a short time, but she’s just got to keep on learning.”

  • gail

    pendleton a disgrace in horse racing her attitude is poor laughing when she fell off the horse at fakenham was a disgrace must jockeys be ashamed of falling off and know people bet on them to win its not a laughing matter .pendleton has leap frog all jockeys that have to ride under licence the bhb should be ashamed of what they doing because she inadequate and just a glorified bike rider. All people involved in this situation should hang there heads in shame and be snubbed by any self respected person in racing and not be a yes person which these hypocrites do on television. there jockeys riding everyday at home that do not get chance to ride any horse on a racetrack that can ride pendleton to sleep total disgrace. whats up with these people why do they still work for these idiots that are manufacturing this situation get sum balls and say no by leaving these sort of trainers and dump them where they dumping all these hard working stable staff there lack of respect for you is infectious …..

  • Steve S

    Lol, very true.

  • neale the snapper

    It’s also a quote.

  • grant

    It shows how much harder it is to ride a horse than pedal a bicycle. She’s got guts though.

  • NitroFan

    For what it costs to own and keep a horse near London.
    DIY Livery, feed, bedding, hay, vet & vet Ins, farrier (i have excluded dental work, brushes blankets polish resins treats transport, boots etc etc etc) £5860 a year to run and that is cheap.

    You can add at least another £3000pa if you want full livery (someone else shovels their poopoo! and feeds and cleans them for you!

    Thats not all!!! then you have the one off purchase cost of horse, saddle and assorted tack boots joddys jackets helmets crops gloves and insurance. Trust me bikes even racing cars are cheap by comparison!!!!!

    you really could afford to buy a new ex pro team bike every season!

    It was a relief to get divorced she took neddy with her.

  • NitroFan

    Yeah and those buggers can eat even more than a pro tour rider! I know I used to pick up my wife’s exorbitant feed, farrier and vets bills (the horse not hers)

  • NitroFan

    I kinda got that! 🙂 But this really is nothing to do with Cycling.

  • Andrew Bairsto

    I think she used to ride a bike I maybe wrong .

  • Andrew Bairsto

    Never thought of that plus you have to feed a horse I suppose.

  • NitroFan

    Having attempted to ride one once I assure you the lack of brakes and steering make a lie of your words! 🙂

  • NitroFan

    In what way is this story relevant to cycling?

  • Lee Wingate

    In fairness you could be right…. A stable full of bikes and they probably cost the same as well. Difficult to put a motor in a horse though! 😉 hehe…

  • Andrew Bairsto

    Very similar horses and bikes.

  • Alan

    Nothing salient whatsoever, other than to humbly intimate that mentioning her being crap on SCD is also utterly immaterial and irrelevant?!

  • ummm…

    but what is the bearing here?

  • Roger

    Yes. It’s colloquial but perfectly understandable.

  • Alan

    In her defence, she was passably good at her first love, as a mantelpiece groaning with medals will attest!

  • J1

    Does that title make sense?

  • Chris Williams

    Me tooooooooooooo
    She was crap at Strictly also

  • Lee Wingate

    I thought i’d clicked on a cycling website!!