21 horses are being prepared for the 133rd running of the Velka Pardubicka. Thursday September 7th was the closing date for entries for this year’s Velka Pardubicka. The list contains 21 names, including one challenger from Fance, two representatives from Ireland and a number of very high-quality entries trained in the Czech Republic. The deadline for declarations to run is on September 27th.
The trainer with the largest number of entries this year is Moravian-based Stanislav Popelka, with three intended runners, Imphal, Lombargini and Zataro. “Our entries are horses that have run in one of the qualification races and have fulfilled the qualification conditions. Apart from Zataro, they have experience of running in the Velka Pardubicka itself, and in the case of Zataro we’ll see how the distance suits him. However, he went well in the qualification race,” says trainer Popelka. His first consideration is about who the jockeys will be. We’ll have to sort it out, and find a jockey to suit each of the horses. That’s difficult even in the less important races, and it’s going to be particularly difficult for the Velka.” Stanislav Popelka does not want venture a guess about his horses’ chances. “Apart from the tried and tested stayers and jumpers, there is always some horse the springs a surprise. It’s sure to be a hard race. All of them have some class and have achieved some results. We’ll go to the race humbly. We know we can’t just look back at the opposition. We mainly have to concentrate on our own performance and train the horses as well as we can,” the trainer adds.
Two horses have been entered by Hana Kabelková, who has Star and 2021Velka Pardubicka winner Talent in the race. The only mare in the field is Santa Klara, trained by Josef Váňa junior, who has also entered Gap Pierji for Scuderia Aichner SRL. Pardubice racegoers were able to see Santa Klara run in June, while Gap Pierji ran in the September qualification race. Josef Váňa senior has entered only one horse, Lodgian Whistle, winner of the June qualification race, in the race over 6900 metres.
Last year’s winner Mr Spex, owned by Lokotrans, will defend his title, but we will have to see whether his jockey, Lukáš Matuský, will be able to return to the saddle after a long-term injury. Two other qualification race winners deserve a mention – Sacamiro and Argano are both expected to run in the Velka. Three runners are expected from Slovakia – the experienced Kaiserwalzer and Paris Eiffel, and also Royal Gino, which managed to qualify at the last moment.
French-trained Polinuit will have a much longer journey to Pardubice. He will be having his first run here. However, his trainer Nicolle François has a lot of racing experience. Polinuit won the race at Waregem in the Crystal Cup series, and is currently leading the rankings for the series.
The two horses brought over by Irish trainer Peter Maher have been staying near the Albertovec stud. Both Alpha Male and Jet Fighter introduced themselves in one of the smaller races at the recent meeting at Pardubice, and their names, too, are now on the list of entries. “We are very pleased that the 21 entries include plenty of tried and tested Czech trained horses, including two former winners of the Velka Pardubicka, and also Lodgian Whistle, Sacamiro and Argano, winners of this year’s qualification races. The French horse is an unexpected and very welcome surprise. I know him from abroad. He won in Belgium, and we’ll see how he’s going to do here.” says Jaroslav Müller, Director of Dostihový spolek a.s., the organiser of events at Pardubice racecourse. “I’m pleased that our top horses are going to meet up with top foreign horses, for the first time in some years. And I’m not talking only about the French representative, but also about the two Scuderia Aichner horses and the Irish horses, all of which have already got to know our racecourse.”
The runners for the 133rd Velka Pardubicka with Slavia Insurance will be declared on September 27th, when the ceremonial draw for the starting numbers to be carried in the race will take place. The race will be run on its traditional date, the second Sunday in October, which this year falls on October 8th.