Pendleton to star at Olympia

Victoria Pendleton will star alongside the likes of Frankie Dettori as she turns her hand to show jumping in a special event in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund at Olympia in December.

Victoria Pendleton: Will help raise money for the Injured Jockeys Fund

Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist Pendleton famously took part in the "Switching Saddles" challenge last jumps season, learning to ride over fences with the ultimate aim of competing at the Cheltenham Festival.

Pendleton duly teamed up with Pacha Du Polder to finish fifth in the Foxhunter Chase back in March and she will now be part of a five-strong National Hunt side in the Markel Champions Challenge on December 16.

Pendleton, who will receive specialist tuition from Rio 2016 individual show jumping gold medallist Nick Skelton to prepare for the event, will be part of a side captained by current champion National Hunt jockey Richard Johnson.

Skelton's jockey son Harry will also be part of the team along with Sam Twiston-Davies and Tom Scudamore while Dettori's Flat team is due to feature newly-crowned champion Jim Crowley, Hayley Turner, Adam Kirby and Jamie Spencer.

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Pendleton said: "I am thrilled to be part of such a prestigious event like Olympia.

"The Markel Champions Challenge will be an exciting competition with such a high calibre of jockeys and I'm really looking forward to riding in it.

"To be back involved in a team again and hear the excitement of the crowd will be immense, I just hope the jump jockeys can get over the line for the win!"

The teams will compete over a course designed by legendary designer Bob Ellis and Lisa Hancock, chief executive of the IJF, is delighted the charity will be part of the event.

She said: "The Injured Jockeys Fund is delighted to be involved in this fantastic event.

"Not only will it be a lot of fun but it will help to raise awareness and crucial support for all injured jockeys and their families."

Juliet Redfern, Markel's managing director of equine and livestock, added: "It is fantastic to see the return of the Markel Champions Challenge in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund; Markel are proud to be associated with such a credible cause at a brilliant event.

"To see Victoria on board will be enormously inspiring to everyone, and we would like to take this opportunity to wish all the competitors the best of luck."

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