Czech horses heading for Rome en masse
Many, though not all, of the roads taken by Czech horses running in the near future will lead to Rome. A project set up by Roma Capannelle racecourse in an attempt to lure Czech participants for the local jumps racing season has attracted considerable interest. It is sure that a group of Czech horses will leave for Italy in the coming days in an effort to follow in the footsteps of, for example, Lutin des Bordes, [winner of several good races in Italy in recent years]. The exact numbers are still in the air.
“We are planning to take six horses to Rome,” trainer Štěpánka Sedláčková said at Pardubice. Jockey Jaroslav Myška [Štěpánka’s partner] added, “We want to try out this opportunity. It’s something new, but for us it will be a kind of working holiday down in the south.” The winter climate is certainly much more promising in Rome than in east Bohemia.
Josef Váňa traditionally takes horses to run in Italy, and he too intends to put together a squad of horses for Rome in the next few days. “We have to put the squad together in such a way that we can run the horses in a good number of races. I have some ideas, but we’ll be putting things together when this week’s [Newmarket] sales are over. We certainly want to go to Rome,” Váňa confirms.
Other stables have also been in touch with Rome, and it is a question of how many will in the end set out for Italy. For example, Velka Pardubicka runner Aspirant’s trainer Jiří Janda says: “He’s been having some fitness problems, and he is to some extent an old gentleman, so I have recommended some more detailed tests before setting out for Italy, so that he doesn’t come to any harm from the excursion.”
While Aspirant is still on the cards, trainer Čestmír Olehla, another frequent participant in Italian racing, will not be joining in the Rome project this year, because he does not have any suitable horses available.
(translated from the Czech language Dostihovy svet website)
In the course of the Czech horseracing season, representatives of Roma Capannelle racecourse came several times to present a project which will enable Czech trainers to stable their horses in Rome and run them in the winter jumps racing season at the course. Italian jumps racing has suffered from small fields in recent years, and Czech runners have become an integral part of Italian jumps racing, especially at Merano, which is accessible from the Czech Republic. Rome is much farther away, and the possibility to stable horses there for a period of time can make it more attractive to run horses there.
From November till March the conditions for training horses in the Czech Republic tend to be far from ideal, though if there is not a thaw, horses can be prepared on snow. Transporting racehorses, especially over the first few kilometres, can also be a problem. The prospect of a working holiday in Rome is, as Jarda Myska suggests, attractive.
Quite a few leading Czech chasers had a light 2012 season due to the hot weather and hard ground throughout much of the spring and summer, and due to single-minded preparation for the Velka Pardubicka. A winter season in Rome, followed by a rest in spring 2013, and then a concentrated campaign for the second Sunday in October 2013, might sound like a good strategy for a number of Czech-trained horses.