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Vicky’s is 22 fences away from glory and a whopping £250,000 payday

Cheltenham Festival : 11 days to go

VICTORIA PENDLETON is 22 fences away from glory - and a whopping £250,000 payday.

The dual Olympic gold medal-winning cyclistturned-amateur jockey looked every inch the part on Wednesday when making all on Pacha Du Polder at Wincanton to win her first race by 29 lengths.

 Joy . . . Victoria Pendleton after win
Joy . . . Victoria Pendleton after win

Now it is all systems go for the Foxhunter Chase at the Festival - the race just after the showpiece Gold Cup on March 18.

Pendleton, 35, will be one of the highest-paid sportswomen if she wins the 24-runner Cheltenham marathon thriller over three and a quarter miles.

Pendleton has a lucrative contract with 'switching saddles' sponsors Betfair but the exact terms of the deal have been very hush-hush as the bookies claim it is 'part of a wider marketing strategy'.

However I am told she has already been paid £100,000 plus expenses for taking up the challenge with a performance-related bonus kicking in if she rides at the Festival.

If Pendleton wins the Foxhunter on Pacha Du Polder and - after this week's improved efforts, there is now a big chance she could - she will bank at least £250,000 in total.

She cannot be paid as a jockey but canny Betfair have skirted round racing's rules for amateur riders by insisting she is being paid for her time and also for the use of her image rights and promotional activities.