It is with great sorrow that we received the news that Mr MARTIN ŠABATA left us on Saturday, July 17, 2021.
František Holčák, trainer of more Czech Derby winners than anyone else and one of the greatest personalities in Czech horseracing, announced his retirement as an active trainer in April 2021. He will continue to train just three of his old favourites.
Czech horseracing teams up with Tipsport
The first of the four Velka Pardubicka qualification races will be run at Pardubice racecourse on Saturday, May 22nd, behind closed doors. Fourteen runners have been declared for the qualification race, which will be run at 2.45 p.m.
Chris was a Swiss citizen who appeared in the Czech Republic in about 1999, and set about becoming a major racehorse owner here. Initially, his great ambition was to win the Velka Pardubicka. At first he owned a number of racehorses, trained at Lysa and at Mimon. After some years commuting between Switzerland and the Czech Republic, he decided to live mainly in the Czech Republic and he set up with his own trainer, Pavel Kinsky.
We are told that the virus figures have been heading sharply in the wrong direction. Stricter measures have been introduced, and open-air events must be held behind closed doors, at least until November 3rd. The Jockey Club of the Czech Republic has been arguing for an exception to be made for horseracing, so that the Czech St. Leger can be run, and a premature end to our racing season has not been called.
In the second half of September, the COVID-19 data for the Czech Republic were heading in the wrong direction. The numbers of people being tested and testing positive were rising, though the numbers in hospital and the numbers dying with the virus remained fairly low (but, admittedly, rising).
The entries are in for the Velka Pardubicka and the other nine races at Pardubice on Sunday, October 11th. As the race conditions for the Velka Pardubicka were changed, the entries that had been made in May have been cancelled. All the foreign-trained horses that were entered in May have not been re-entered, with the exception of Slovak-trained outsider Vandual.
Just one week after announcing his impending retirement, Jan Rája rode two winners to complete his 500 winners on the flat, in addition to 14 winners over fences earlier in his career. 500 winners on the flat, almost all of them in the Czech Republic or in Slovakia, is a tremendous lifetime achievement by Jan. Well done!