It’s not uncommon for professional athletes to find a new outlet for their competitive nature after retirement – and it looks like Victoria Pendleton has found her way in horse racing.
Britain’s most successful female Olympian came second in her first ever competitive horse race as a licensed jockey over the bank holiday weekend – in a tight photo finish.
Pendleton and ‘Royal Etiquette’ led the race at the Betfair Novice Flat Amateur Riders’ Handicap in Ripon together for most of the course, but they were chased down by ‘Jordaura’ in the final metres.
The retired track cyclist made her debut at a charity in Newbury event in July, and has been riding (horses) for just six months – but it would seem her strong leg muscles, obvious good balance and handling skills are serving her well.
Pendleton is targeting the Foxhunters’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March 2016 – and her success in this first race as a licensed jockey is a step in the right direction.
Speaking to the Guardian, Pendleton said: “I was pushing with everything I had and lost my balance a bit on the undulations, which was frustrating, and I ended up just shouting at him to keep him going.”.
She’s clearly enjoying her new found hobby – and said: “I feel blessed to have had the career I’ve had in cycling, without it I wouldn’t be here, but man, I love riding horses. It’s the biggest rush and so much fun, nothing really compares.”
Pendleton isn’t the only track cyclist to find a new hobby quickly after retiring – earlier this year we spoke to Sir Chris Hoy about his new found love of racing cars, too…