The January 2013 newsletter seems likely to be short, as there is little enough from the recent past to report on, and I do not want to waste the reader’s time with my predictions for the future. I will leave ill-informed forecasting to the multitudes of tweeters, twitterers and futurologists that the blogosphere has created!
The death of Ludvík Raimond, winning rider of the Velka Pardubicka in 1956, was announced on December 18th. He was born on December 13th, 1928 in Lazne Bohdanec, just outside Pardubice. He was introduced to riding as a child, and first rode in the Velka Pardubicka in 1951. In 1954 he won the race on Unkas. Later, he took up show jumping, and was a member of the Czechoslovak national team. As a pensioner, he took up horse breeding.
An extraordinary general meeting on December 17th of Dostihovy Spolek, organisers of events at Pardubice racecourse, approved the transfer of 22.51% of the shares in the association from Dr Martin Vokál to Bělecký mlýn s.r.o. For some time it has been known that Dr Vokal, a Czech gynaecologist working in Switzerland, wanted to sell his shares. The purchaser is a company owned by Richard Benýšek, who is according to the Czech media an associate of Petr Kellner, the "wealthiest Czech".
Soon after his winning ride in the Velka Pardubicka, Jan Faltejsek left for France, from where he subsequently set out for Cheltenham. After the ride there on Orphee des Blins, he returned to France, and he resumed spending the winter months at the training centre of Guillaume Macaire, the king of French trainers over fences. Until now he has ridden three winners for Macaire, but Faltejsek himself does not expect many more in the coming weeks.
While he was in Cheltenham in November, Greg Wroblewski was interviewed by Marcus Armytage for the Daily Telegraph. Marcus rode a horse trained by Greg 25 years ago!
Greg was also interviewed on TV by Alistair Down.
November 2012 has been a comparatively mild month in the Czech Republic. Here in Prague, we have scarcely had any frost, though the forecast predicts a cold spell with snow to begin in the first weekend in December. In fact, as I write to you on November 29th, there is snow in the mountains of west and north Bohemia.
Pardubice, November 16th, 2012
This afternoon Orphee des Blins, the supreme heroine of this year’s Velka Pardubicka, faces a baptism by fire at Cheltenham. Jan Faltejsek has travelled from France to ride the mare. Jan Faltejsek is one of few Czech jockeys to have already ridden at Cheltenham [for example, on Knockara Beau in this year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup], so he will be on familiar territory. However, he has not ridden before on the crosscountry course, where the race will be today.