Pendleton gets plum mount Polder for Festival debut
Olympic cycling gold medallist Victoria Pendleton has been given an opportunity of fulfilling her dream of riding in Cheltenham's Foxhunter Chase after Pacha Du Polder was made available to her as her potential mount at the Festival.
Pendleton will team up with the nine-year-old - which wears the famous colours of leading racehorse owner Andy Stewart - for the remainder of the point-to-point season with the ultimate aim of competing in the Foxhunter.
Pacha Du Polder was runner-up in the Foxhunters at Aintree last year when trained by Paul Nicholls and is already qualified for the amateur riders' blue riband at Cheltenham.
The nine-year-old, now with Chloe Roddick, should provide Pendleton with invaluable additional race-riding experience as she builds towards the biggest meeting in the jumps calendar.
The news comes a day after the double Olympic cycling champion completed a point-to-point race for the first time when fourth on the Alan Hill-trained Supreme Danehill in the Confined Race at Black Forest Lodge in Devon.
Elsewhere, Paul Carberry is rueing his luck after being ruled out of Cheltenham with another injury.
The veteran jumps jockey has been out of action since suffering a broken leg in a fall at Listowel last September, but had been closing in on a return.
However, the Meath native fractured the same leg when riding out at his home on Friday and will remain on the sidelines when the Festival extravaganza takes place in March.
"I was due to see the specialist at the end of January and the plan was he was going to pass me fit to ride again," said Carberry. "I've been riding out for a while and we'd been happy with how things were going. It (a comeback) was getting pretty close all right, but obviously it wasn't meant to be.
"I was riding out on Friday and it was a simple enough fall. The horse just spooked and when I went down the leg gave way - there is obviously a weakness there, but it's not the same break as last time.