The horseracing season is rapidly coming to an end in the Czech Republic, though many of our trainers will continue to send their horses out to run abroad. Some trainers will keep certain horses in training until winter comes. One or two, most notably Josef Váňa, will in addition have some “winter horses” that are only starting their winter campaign in Italy and in France.
The end of September and the first half of October was a busy period for me, and the October Newsletter failed to appear – unless you consider a brief apology for its non-appearance to be a satisfactory replacement.
Each year, on the second Sunday in October, Czech Television puts on a remarkable day of horseracing, culminating in the Velka Pardubicka crosscountry steeplechase. The ČT sport channel shows the entire day of racing, beginning before 11 in the morning, and continuing until about 5.30 in the afternoon. The last hour and a half of the event is shown simultaneously on Czech Television’s Channel 1.
This was an outstanding renewal of the race, with the toughest horse winning. No Time To Lose found a bit extra after the second fence from home, and set out after Urgent de Gregain. At that point, the French-trained horse paid for pulling to the front with 11 obstacles to go, and put in a weary jump at the last fence. When No Time To Lose went into the lead, Urgent de Gregain tried to rally, but No Time To Lose was able to hold off his challenge quite easily.
This year’s 127th running of the Velka Pardubicka with Česká pojišťovna attracted 700 000 more television viewers than last year’s race. The highpoint of the Czech steeplechasing season was watched by 3 000 000 viewers on Czech Television’s ČT1 and ČT Sport channels. Others watched the transmission on foreign channels and in PMU betting offices in 24 countries. Twenty-two thousand spectators watched the race at the course.
Somehow, there has always been something more pressing to do, throughout the last three weeks, than to write an October newsletter.
The 127th running of the Velka Pardubicka was a muddy event. The turf was only on the soft side of good, after good amounts of rain in the weeks, days, hours and minutes before the race. However, the ploughed fields had pools of water on them, and by the end of the afternoon they were muddy rather than very deep. Be that as it may, these were tough conditions.