Vítek: Soft ground would help the chances of our French propect

Number 1 will be carried in the Velka Pardubicka by 9-y-o Vanesse, trained by Pavel Vítek, on her first race in central Europe. Betting on this experienced French crosscountry chaser would be like buying a lottery ticket, because of her lack of knowledge of the conditions here in the Czech Republic. Nevertheless, her experience in France indicates that she will not necessarily just be making up the numbers on Sunday afternoon!


She has achieved 4 wins from 70 races on French racecourses, but according to Pavel Vítek this does not give us a full picture of her form. “She’s been very unlucky recently,” says Vítek. “For example, in the winter she ran in the big crosscountry race at Pau. She got herself into quite a promising position, but then she fell near to the end of the race. And that wasn’t her only piece of bad luck of that kind. She’s certainly a high-quality crosscountry chaser, and she can handle difficult obstacles. Horses in France learn to do that,” says her trainer, who is known for his long-term contacts with France, and he has now brought over another candidate aiming for fame in the Czech Republic.


“She’s been here with us for about three weeks, but I’ve been watching her for quite some time. Her connections in France had been thinking about running her in the Velka Pardubicka in the past, but in the end nothing came of it.” However, the mare now has a Czech owner, and she has been brought here from France with a view to running at Pardubice. And although it is a step into the unknown for her, she is not exactly the outsider type.


Of course, it will all depend on how she takes to Pardubice. We know that she prefers soft ground, so we’re hoping for some rain before the weekend. That would certainly suit our mare,” says Pavel Vítek. Jockey Jordan Duchene, who will be riding the mare at Pardubice, knows her from some of her previous races and from trainer Quinton’s training centre, and since he is not new to Pardubice, owner Quartis-Zámecký Vrch and the team around Vanesse can be optimistic about Duchene being engaged to ride.


Two years ago, Pavel Vítek sent Chicname de Cotte out to take 3rd place unexpectedly in the Velka. This horse is now making a comeback on Sunday in the Vltava Stakes, after two years away from the racetrack. However, the trainer is not ready to make a comparison between Vanesse and Chicname de Cotte. “We haven’t had the mare in training for long enough to make any kind of comparison between Chicname de Cotte and our French prospect for this year’s Velka,” he explains.


The original Czech-language version of this interview appeared today on the Czech language side of this website. The interview is by our editor, Petr Guth.