Bodlák: We’ve been warmly welcomed in Cheltenham

The two Czech-trained horses that will run at Cheltenham on December 9th (Friday) have already been “on the scene” since the end of last week. Trainer Radim Bodlák is until now full of praise for everything that he has encountered in the UK, and he is greatly looking forward to the appearance of his Delight My Fire in Friday’s final race in the Crystal Cup series. Let us hope she is going to do well!

Where does Bodlák draw his optimism from, before this encounter with unknown crosscountry horses from the UK, Ireland and France? “I think the course will suit her. It looks like the right kind of course for her,” says Bodlák, who has been pleasantly surprised by the famous racecourse at Cheltenham. “The fact is, she’s been suited by practically all the courses she’s run at. But I really have the feeling that this one could be fine for her. If we were worried about going into an unknown environment, I can say that, once we arrived here, our fears left us. This is an environment where we can succeed,” Radim Bodlák thinks. 

The organisers of the international crosscountry race always give a good welcome to their foreign guests, and Bodlák is full of praise for the situation that he is in, which contrasts with welcomes that have been offered in the Czech Republic. “We’ve been given a wonderful welcome. They are very good to us, and have asked us several times whether we want to try the horses out over some fences. However, we haven’t taken up the offer. The horses have already done plenty of jumping, so we are working in England without jumping. We’re just tuning them up for Friday.” 

It is hard to weigh up the chances of Delight My Fire, already a two-time winner this autumn, before the race. “It’s a matter getting the best possible collaboration between horse and jockey, and if that succeeds, the mare will be able to put in an optimum performance. We’ll see what she’s able to do against the other horses.”

Delight My Fire and Taurito are the first Czech-trained horses for four years to run in the UK. The greatest impression on British crosscountry racing fans was made by another mare, Registana, whose ambitions were thwarted when she went out of bounds after a mistake by her jockey when leading near the end of the race.