Dostihový spolek press release: The Velka Pardubicka will be run, but changes have to be made

Dostihový spolek press reledubicka will be run, but changes have to be madease: The Velka Par

This press release was issued on September 24th by Dostihový spolek, organizers of events at Pardubice racecourse. Due to the Covid-19 situation, all organizers of horseracing have faced great uncertainty for many months, though there was an early return in the Czech Republic to race meetings behind closed doors in May, and limited numbers of spectators have been allowed into the racecourse areas on racedays since June. In recent days, however, the Covid situation in the Czech Republic has deteriorated. All statistical indicators have been moving in the wrong direction.

Dostihový spolek continues to be unsure how many spectators will be allowed at the racecourse on Velka Pardubicka day, Sunday October 11th, and does not know how many tickets can be sold for Velka Pardubicka day. As far as everyone in Czech racing is concerned, the race will be run, and as usual the day’s racing will be shown live on Czech Television’s ČT Sport channel. 


Pardubice, 24. September 2020 – The 130th running of the Velka Pardubicka with Slavia pojišťovna [Slavia Insurance] will take place. The organizer of the race, Dostihový spolek a.s., has made a decision to organize the legendary race despite the restrictive measures linked with the spread of Covid-19. The number of racegoers will have to be severely limited, and changes will be made to the racing programme. Nevertheless, the continuity and the tradition of the oldest and toughest steeplechase in continental Europe will remain intact. 


According to the latest measures announced by the Ministry of Health, a maximum of 2 000 people are allowed to take part in an outdoor event. For an event that regularly brings together twenty to twenty-five thousand spectators, this is a major limitation “The racecourse area is extensive, and we have sufficient capacity in open-air seating. Ours is an outdoor event. For these reasons, we have been in contact with the Ministry of Health and we are still attempting to negotiate for exemptions and adjustments for our needs,” says Dostihový spolek manager Jaroslav Müller.  “For now, however, we have to work on the basis of 2 000 people, and that is why we have unfortunately been unable to re-open ticket sales.”


Currently, the allowed capacity is taken up by business partners, without whom the event could not have taken place, and by holders of tickets purchased in the spring months earlier this year. These tickets remain valid. However, it is possible that some ticket holderswill be contacted due to the need to make changes to the seat numbers. “The current limitation on the numbers of spectators is valid for a period of 14 days, which means that it expires two or three days before the Velka Pardubicka. If the limitation is suspended, and if we can go back to a higher capacity, we will immediately start selling again,” Müller promises.


The epidemiological situation and the consequences of measures that have been taken are beginning to show up in the financial situation of our business partners. Dostihový spolek has therefore decided to combine the Saturday raceday and the Sunday raceday. That means that the raceday on Saturday, October 10th will be cancelled, and some of the races will be moved to Sunday, October 11th. There will be 10 races on the card, culminating in the 130th running of the. Velka Pardubicka with Slavia Insurance. “We have presented a proposal for new race conditions and for adjustments to the prizemoney to the Jockey Club of the Czech Republic. The Velka Pardubicka will have prizemoney of CZK 3 000 000,” says Dostihový spolek manager Jaroslav Müller, adding that in the course of the raceday the organizers will pay out a total of CZK 5 000 000 for horses finishing in the placings.


“Despite the crisis in the spring, we have managed to put on a season of horseraces, and we were able to put on the complete series of qualification races. It would be a great pity not to be able see it through to the end. With the support of our business partners, we want to give the trainers and owners a chance to reap the reward for their year’s work and for their efforts,” Jaroslav Müller adds.