Unluckiest VP jockey František Grassl has died

Former jumps jockey and racehorse trainer František Grassl passed away on December 16th, at the age of 79. While plenty of jockeys have had their name put forward as the unluckiest jockey in the history of the Velka Pardubicka, František Grassl’s claim was perhaps the strongest of all. In the 1975 running of the race, he was well clear and uncatchable in the finishing straight on Flang, However, a loose horse, Bledax, crashed into him and brought horse and rider down. Unfortunately, this dramatic event was missed by the television cameras, and only a single very grainy amateur black-and-white still photo records the contact between the two horses.

František Grassl rode a number of times in the Velka Pardubicka, his best finish being on Flang, in 1973. He stopped riding in 1980. He trained horses for many years for the Nové Město pod Smrkem State Farm, and gave up training at the end of the 1990s.