Argano turns a warm-up outing into a VP qualification race win

The final qualification race at Pardubice for the 133rd Velka Pardubicka with Slavia Insurance was won by 9-y-o Argano. This son of Arganta, which had been a leading stayer at Czech racecourses, was ridden by his trainer, Martin Liška. This was meant to be a preparatory race to provide a good workout before the Velka Pardubicka, which will be run at Pardubice racecourse on October 8th. At first, it did look like a warm-up outing, but out on the track great things began to happen.

Argano was in fourth place in the betting, but backers put more faith in the favourite Lodgian Whistle, trained by Josef Váňa senior. However, the  10-y-o favourite, unbeaten this year, did not get round with his jockey, Josef Bartoš. They were ahead and got over the Gardens double fence, but then Bartoš‘s saddle slipped and their race was over. Before that, Talent had discharged his rider Pavela Složil at the Irish Bank. Rather unexpectedly, Gap Pierji, a 7-y-o newcomer to Pardubice owned by Scuderia Aichner SRL, found himself out in the lead. Further back, there were Argano, Star and Slovak representative Royal Gino, for whom this race was the last opportunity to qualify for the Velka Pardubicka, following failures in the previous two qualification races. Royal Gino was ridden by experienced jockey Marcel Novák, who was  engaged by trainer Marian Štangel after his horse’s regular jockey Jan Odložil was injured.

The race turned into a solo journey for the black and yellow colours of Scuderia Aichner SRL after jockey Jan Kratochvíl decided to set the pace and go away from the field. After getting over the Dry Ditch, Jaroslav Myška pulled up on Hapgarde de Thaix, a newly-arrived acquisition for the stable run by his wife and himself. Stuke (Ondřej Velek) set out in pursuit, and from the rear of the field Argano and the two greys, Star and Royal Gino, began to move up. It was Argano that prevailed in the finishing straight.

I told myself that we were having a good preparatory outing, but Argano decided to put in some real work. He got me over the Big English Fence well, and then he got going. I said to myself that Gap was far ahead and going away. But I remained calm. And then Argano got the bit between his teeth. When he decided to go, we went,“ jockey Martin Liška recounted. He said that the going on Saturday was quite soft, and by the end of the race the horses were getting tired, especially Gap Pierji, which finally got round in 6th place, the  last of the finishers. Second place behind Argano went to Star and Marek Stromský. Both horses are trained at Vápenný Podol in the Chrudim district. Star is trained there by Hana Kabelková. Stuke (Velek) finished 3rd, and the others to finish in the frame were Royal Gino (Novák) and Godsalino (Čmiel).

Twenty-six horses have qualified for the Velka Pardubicka, including Hapgarde de Thaix. Though he was pulled up, he had already won the right to run in the Velka earlier in the year when he was  in France.