Oxfordshire racehorse trainer Lawney Hill has responded to criticism of Victoria Pendleton’s bid to become an amateur jockey.

Dual Olympic cycling champion Pendleton, who lives at Moreton, near Thame, finished eighth on her racecourse debut aboard the Hill-trained Mighty Mambo in a charity race at Newbury last Thursday.

But jockey Racheal Kneller hit out at her exploits, saying it was a slap in the face for hopeful hard-working stable kids with a dream who don’t have the media onside.

Former jockey Laura Pike, meanwhile, claimed it wasn’t about ability, but who you knew in the sport.

Pendleton’s project is being backed by Betfair, and she has been riding out at Hill’s Aston Rowant stables.

The trainer said: “Betfair have given her this challenge and she has risen to the occasion with great gusto and taken the bull by horns.

“She is working very hard as you would expect of a double Olympic champion and not just turning up when it suits her.”

Betfair and Pendleton declined to comment.