Nina Carberry strikes again as Victoria Pendleton fifth in Foxhunters
Enda Bolger’s On The Fringe wins back-to-back titles
Nina Carberry wins the St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase on On The Fringe (far left) for a second year while Victoria Pendleton (second from right) came home fifth on Pacha Du Polder. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters/Livepic
Nina Carberry claimed a second straight St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham on Enda Bolger’s On The Fringe as former British Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton brought her mount Pacha Du Polder home to a fifth-place finish
Bolger’s champion hunter (13-8 favourite) beat Marito by a neck with Paint The Clouds third, while Pendleton stayed on strongly to complete an afternoon to remember.
Carberry said of her winning ride: “I’m so happy, I didn’t think I had a chance turning in but he winged the last and he’s always there for you.
“I was expecting a better gallop so I could use his jumping a bit more.
“I missed the third-last and lost a few lengths and thought my chance had gone, but I winged the last two.
“He loves the spring ground, it brings out the best in him, it’s a dream come true.
“Enda is unreal at getting them to peak for the big day. Well done to them and I’m just delighted to get to ride him.”
Bolger said: “It’s exciting to go back-to-back in this but it’s a race in which we had a little bit of everything. Clapping Victoria on the way back as well as Nina – it was a fantastic performance by both women.
“He hadn’t run since Punchestown in April when he came back to the track and as he done very well in his spell at JP’s (McManus) place, he was burly and needed the race. We had him ready today to pull out all the stops and we are on cloud nine again.
“I thought Victoria’s performance was second to none.”
Pendleton exceeded all expectations as she gave the Paul Nicholls-trained nine-year-old a very patient ride and was stone last for the first mile.
As the race began to evolve, Pendleton, a double Olympic cycling champion, began to move through the field with style.
Pendleton, whose mount earned £936 in prize-money for fifth, said: “I can’t believe how nice the crowd has been, I’d like to thank Alan and Lawney Hill, Andy Stewart (owner) and Paul Nicholls, they’ve made this all possible.
“I feel honoured to have been given this opportunity. It’s right up there with everything I’ve ever done, it’s such a rush.
“Thank you to all the jockeys that have been involved today, they’ve all been so nice and I feel really lucky.
“I think it’s one of the greatest achievements of my life, a special achievement.”
Stewart is hoping the rules governing amateur licences will be changed in order to allow Pendleton another bite of the cherry over the Grand National fences in the Fox Hunters’ Chase at Aintree.
He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “All the dissenters said she would fall off at the first, but I’ve had plenty of my jockeys fall off at the first. She got round nicely and the horse looked after her.
“I just hope the rules will be changed between the Category A and B licences so she can ride him at Aintree.
“As far as we are concerned, he will go to Aintree for the race he finished second in last year.
“She’s got to have a couple more rides under Rules or the rules have got to be changed to ride at Aintree.
“What Victoria has done today is magnificent, she is a credit to the sport.”
Nicholls said of the ride: “That was the only the way to ride him – hunt, hunt, hunt. She went for a clear round, took her time and in the end was not beaten far.
“She was brilliant. I never doubted she would be okay. It was an absolutely super ride.”
Grand National-winning trainer Oliver Sherwood said: “I thought it was a 12 out of 10, let the knockers knock, it was a great ride.
“It was just a shame she was not in the top four. She had never ridden a year ago and I take my hat off to her. I think we should embrace it, as it is very good for racing.”