The 100th Czech Derby will be run this weekend at Prague Velká Chuchle racecourse
2 September 2020, Prague – This year’s season at Velká Chuchle racecourse in the suburbs of Prague is gradually moving into its second half. After the CSIO3* international showjumping competition, in which the Czech showjumping team qualified successfully for the Olympic Games in Tokio, September 6th will feature the Czech Derby, the absolute high point of the Czech horseracing season. This will be the 100th running of the race at Velká Chuchle racecourse, the home of the Czech Derby. Racegoers can look forward to a splendid occasion with an accompanying programme in the spirit of the first Czechoslovak Republic. For the safety of the racegoers and to minimize the risk of spreading the coronavirus, just 1000 tickets are on sale for the event.
In the first half of the season, 6 days of horseracing were held, and there were 5 showjumping events, which were held mainly in the summer months. “We have some top level showjumping events behind us. The most interesting events include the Championship of the Czech Republic for children and for juniors, the Czech Showjumping Cup, and the cherry on the cake was without any doubt the CSIO3* Prague Cup, co-organized with the Czech Equestrian Team,” says Marie Vítková, owner of Chuchle Arena Prague, and she adds: “We’re glad that the whole competition was a success and that we were able to attract top riders and 13 Olympic teams, not only from Europe but also from Japan, Argentina and New Zealand. Their positive comments about the whole area of the arena at Velká Chuchle brought great satisfaction for the whole team that has spent more than two-and-a-half years getting the whole area back into really good order. The successful qualification of the Czech showjumping team for the Olympics in Tokio was another wonderful achievement.”
The first Sunday in September will feature one of the most notable events in the history of Czech horseracing – the 100th running of the Czech Derby. The history of the race dates back to the first running, which was in 1921. The Derby is the most prestigious test that a racehorse can compete in. A horse has only a single chance to run in the race, as a three-year-old.
This year’s anniversary race will recall the times when the race was first run – the times of the first Czechoslovak Republic. A period fashion show, a swing band and a dance performance await the racegoers. They can also look forward to a display with a historic airplane (which will land at the racecourse if conditions are favourable), vintage vehicles, and an exhibition of objects from the Museum of Technical Toys. The restaurant will offer a 1920s menu, there will be a special race for ponies, and souvenir photos, in period style, can be taken. There will also be a rich programme for children, for whom the children’s corner with attractions will be functioning as usual on racedays.
The racecourse area will be open for racegoers from 11 o’çlock, and the first race is at 1 p.m. There will be a total of eight races on the card. “Despite the difficult situation, the Czech Derby has maintained its full prizemoney of two million Czech crowns (EUR 75 00000), and is the richest flat race of the year. The race takes place at 5 p.m., and it is sure to be a splendid spectacle and a great occasion. The best Czech-trained three-year-olds will face two contenders from abroad. Slovak-trained colt Opasan has already won the Dr. Frankenberger Memorial Stakes in Prague, and he will be well backed for the race. Vivienne Wells, trained in Germany by Bohumil Nedorostek, who is of Czech origin, finished second in the Czech Oaks, the fillies’ classic race run at Karlovy Vary a month ago. The main hopes for a home-trained winner lie with Zariyannka, which won the Czech Oaks, and Markoni LP, the winner of the main Derby preparatory race. Rate won the Czech Two Thousand Guineas classic earlier this year, and he will be ridden by Václav Janáček, who has won the Czech flat jockeys’ championship 5 times, and the Spanish jockeys’ championship 6 times.
The attractive programme will include two other top category races, the 61st running of the J&T Banka Gold Cup for elite older stayers, and the Tattersalls Mile, for top horses over a distance of a mile,” says Jiří Zlámaný, racing manager at Chuchle Arena Prague.
“Of course it is a great pity that the 100th anniversary of the Derby fell in this year, when everything is uncertain and the world is fighting against the pandemic. All the same, I believe that racegoers at the 100th Czech Derby, despite the restrictions, will enjoy an exciting spectacle at the racecourse,” says Marie Vítková.
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(This is a translation of a press release issued by the CPI group, owners of Chuchle Aréna Praha, organizers of events at Prague Velká Chuchle racecourse.)