DENBIGHSHIRE jockey Heidi Palin thought she was being pranked when she was told she would be riding Faivoir in today's Betfair Hurdle at Newbury.

Amateur jockey Heidi, 20, from Llandyrnog, was told she would be riding in the season's richest handicap hurdle on Thursday morning.

Heidi told the Racing Post: "I was laughing and joking and then he [champion jockey Harry Skelton] said, 'you're riding him'.

"I thought he was having a laugh, but I saw I was jocked up on him when the declarations came out."

The going was heavy in the race, which was won by Iberico Lord ridden by  Nico de Boinville.

Heidi and Faivoir finished in fifth place out of 21 runners in the 3.15pm Betfair Hurdle

It is the latest step on a career path Heidi began at a young age.

She joined the Denbigh and Flint Pony Club when she was younger and then tried her hand at show-jumping.

After she finished school at the age of 16, Heidi then went to the British Racing School in Newmarket, where she completed a nine-week course.

From there, she went to ply her trade at Dan Skelton's yard in Warwick where she has been for four years.

After Heidi's first triumph in 2023, Dan Skelton told the Mirror website: “Heidi is a very dedicated girl.

"She tries very hard at home. She does a lot of work in the gym and no doubt that contributed to her staying on.

“She’s a really good girl from a showjumping and hunting background.

"Hopefully she will keep getting better and we’ll keep giving her opportunities.”

This is certainly music to Heidi's ears as her target is to hopefully be a professional jockey in the future.