Mon Cheri wins the Slovak Derby, Nagano Gold wins a Listed race in France

 Czech-trained horses took the first three places in a well-fought finish in the Slovak Derby at Bratislava last Sunday, and it was pleasing that the first two places went to horses that had been placed in the first three in the Czech Derby three weeks earlier.

The Bratislava track is a lot tighter than Prague Velká Chuchle. The horses do a bit more than one-and-a- half circuits, as against one circuit in Prague. The curves are much tighter and, perhaps crucially, the Bratislava finishing straight is a lot shorter. Czech Derby winner Blessed Kiss was again ridden along at the back of the field and was brought with a run on the outside on the last bend. In a desperate finish, she caught all except Mon Cheri, which had finished 3rd in Prague. Third place went to Res Judicata, which had finished 7th in Prague. To be fair, Mon Cheri produced a good performance, and might have beaten Blessed Kiss if she had been produced a little earlier. French-bred Mon Cheri is by Makfi (GB) out of Skysweeper (FR) (Hurricane Run(IRE)). The winner is owned by Lokotrans (Lokotrans colours are shown in the picture), a main sponsor of European Jockeys Cup day (Saturday, September 22nd) and is trained by Luboš Urbánek. Both the owner and the trainer enjoyed their first-ever Derby winner. Veteran Slovak jockey Jaroslav Línek has ridden a number of Derby winners in the past, but this was his first Derby winner on his home racecourse.

Czech-trained horses are continuing to run abroad in ever-larger numbers. A notable winner on July 17th at Vichy, in France, was last year’s Czech St Leger winner Nagano Gold, trained by Václav Luka. Ridden by Theo Bachelot, Nagano Gold won the EUR 52 000  Prix Hubert Baguenault de Puchesse (Listed), over 2 400 metres, by an impressive margin of four and a half lengths.