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DOUBLE Olympic champion Victoria Pendleton was agonisingly denied a fairytale victory yesterday on her first ride as a fully-fledged amateur jockey at Ripon.
Despite being a total novice in the saddle, the dual gold medal-winning cyclist announced in March she was training to become a jockey, with the long-term aim of competing in the Foxhunter Chase at next year’s Cheltenham Festival.
Pendleton, 34, made her racecourse debut in a charity event at Newbury in early July, when down the field aboard Mighty Mambo, and having since been awarded her “Category A” licence, she headed to North Yorkshire to partner the Lawney Hill-trained Royal Etiquette in the 13-runner Flat Amateur Riders’ Handicap.
The 14-1 shot was slowly away, coming out of the stalls last of all, but swiftly made up ground down the outside of the field to track the pace-setting Chocolate Diamond.
The pair rounded the home turn well clear of the remainder and when Chocolate Diamond began to falter, Pendleton pushed Royal Etiquette to the front.
However, he was eventually just run out of it by 33-1 chance Jordaura.
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