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Talking Horses: Cheltenham ‘Pendleton-proofs’ Festival for amateur riders

The track’s decision to change its Festival entry rules will effectively prevent celebrity recruits to race-riding lining up at racing’s showpiece meeting

Perhaps jumping fans are too busy going through the form for Cheltenham’s first meeting of the new season this weekend to care, but the track’s decision to effectively Pendleton-proof the Festival meeting’s amateur events with immediate effect has generated surprisingly little comment or concern on social media and internet forums since it was announced on Tuesday morning.

It is a bit of a struggle to find anyone who thinks the move is a bad one, with even Lawney Hill, who spent many months mentoring Pendleton through her preparation for the 2016 Foxhunters’, in which she finished a fine fifth, telling Wednesday morning’s Racing Post that “we have to move with the times”, adding: “We will lose the true corinthians but you don’t see many Eddie the Eagles around any more and I’m afraid in this day and age you have to do more.”

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