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Sprinter Sacre soars in Queen Mother Champion Chase

Sprinter Sacre raised the roof by regaining his crown in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham.

Invincible when imperious in this race three years ago, Sprinter Sacre has had a succession of well-documented problems but has been brought back by his trainer Nicky Henderson to be the top two-miler again.

Sprinter Sacre (5-1) surged past a tame Un De Sceaux. Credit: PA

Sprinter Sacre (5-1) surged past a tame Un De Sceaux two out and pulled clear under Nico de Boinville to bring a packed house down at Prestbury Park.

Un De Sceaux, the 4-6 favourite, was still second best, beaten three and a half lengths behind the popular winner after being unable to dominate in his usual manner.

The pace had been set by Special Tiara (16-1), who was just a nose behind Un De Sceaux in third.

Henderson said: "It's been a long, long journey - those were two very, very grim years.

"That was unbelievable. That was about dreams, wasn't it?"

Pendleton to ride at Cheltenham Festival

Victoria Pendleton will ride Pacha Du Polder at the Cheltenham Festival on Friday week.

The dual Olympic cycling champion will partner Pacha Du Polder in the St James's Place Foxhunter Chase on Friday week.

Victoria Pendleton will be on Pacha Du Polder. Credit: PA

Pacha Du Polder's trainer Paul Nicholls and a team of experts made the decision to allow the 35-year-old the chance to fulfil her dream of appearing at next week's Festival.

She said: "We have always had the extremely ambitious target of riding competitively in the Foxhunter as our goal, so to be announcing that I have achieved this goal is a truly amazing feeling."

Victoria Pendleton unseated again

Victoria Pendleton was unseated in February too, riding Pacha Du Polder at Fakenham. Credit: PA

Victoria Pendleton's Cheltenham Festival dreams suffered a potential jolt after she was unseated in a point-to-point at Kingston Blount on Saturday.

Just days after winning a first race as a jockey at Wincanton, the double Olympic cycling champion was riding the Alan Hill-trained Supreme Danehill when she lost a stirrup after jumping the third fence from the finish and came out of the saddle.

Hill's wife, Lawney, has been one of Pendleton's chief mentors during her Betfair-backed 'Switching Saddles' challenge since it was announced last March that she would make the transition from velodrome to racecourse.

She said: "Unfortunately she's had a fall, but she got up and walked away and is perfectly all right.

"The horse pitched on landing after jumping the third-last. She did well to stay in the saddle, but unfortunately she lost one of her irons, became unbalanced and gravity won."


Victoria Pendleton wins first race as a jockey

Victoria Pendleton made every yard of the running to notch her first win as a jockey aboard Pacha Du Polder in the Betfair Switching Saddles Hunters' Chase at Wincanton.

Pnedleton flies over a hurdle during the race. Credit: PA

The dual Olympic cycling champion was unshipped from Paul Nicholls' charge on her first start under National Hunt Rules at Fakenham just under two weeks ago, but the duo made no mistake this time.

Sharply away, Pendleton survived a couple of sticky leaps to triumph aboard the 5-4 favourite, running out a 29-length victor.

Pendleton has her first victory as a jockey. Credit: Reuters

Her task was somewhat eased when Gauvain, who looked a likely rival, crashed out at the sixth, but Pendleton herself had to survive a slightly shaky jump at the eighth as well as a slow leap at the 10th.

However, she managed to get Pacha Du Polder back on an even keel before kicking for home with two to jump.

She negotiated both of those obstacles with the minimum of fuss, cruising home from Big Fella Thanks to a warm reception from the Wincanton crowd.

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