The series of four qualification races for the 133rd running of the Velka Pardubicka with Slavia Insurance has got under way. The hero of the first act is Chelmsford, a 7-year-old chestnut, ridden by Jan Kratochvíl and trained by Josef Váňa senior. All seven finishers fulfilled the new qualification criteria. From this year, the first five past the post qualify for the big race automatically, but there is now a time limit of 20 seconds behind the winner for any other finishers to qualify.
After the late scratchings of Evžen, which would have been the favourite for the race but has instead been retired due to long-term tendon problems, and of last year’s Velka Pardubicka winner Mr Spex, with a last-minute hoof problem, the best remaining prospects were Chelmsford and Player. While Chelmsford was a newcomer to VP qualification races, Player is an experienced VP competitor.
No-one wanted to set the pace, and the tempo was slow. Slovak repesentative Paris Eiffel (Cagáň) found himself in the lead. At the second obstacle, a water jump, Lombargini made a careless mistake, and Jan Faltejsek was ejected from the saddle. Unfortunately, the loose horse continued with the rest of the field as far as the Irish Bank, obstacle #5, where he obstructed Player and Marcel Novák, and put them out of the race. Paris Eiffel was also interfered with there. He stayed upright, but it took him some time to rejoin the leaders. All this left Jan Kratochvíl and Chelmsford at the head of the field in this race over 5800 metres. They were followed by Godfrey (Vyhnálek), which ran prominently, and by String (Stromský). Coming to the Big English Jump, Argano (ž. Liška) moved up into third place. However, Chelmsford held on to his lead, and remained at the front until the end of the race. The horse had plenty left, and won the race without any problems. Second and third places also did not change hands. Godfrey finished second, with Argano in third place, followed by the two Slovak-trained horses, Kaiserwalzer (Brečka) and Paris Eiffel. String and Dulcar de Sivola (Borč) finished outside the prizemoney, but both got round less than 20 seconds behind the winner, and managed to meet the new qualification criteria.
“We wanted Player to set the tempo, but after what happened at the Irish Bank it was clear that Chelmsford would have to take the lead. He showed us that he can stay 5800 metres, and so it seems that the Velka Pardubicka is a logical step for him,” said Chelmsford’s owner, Rudolf Javořík.
Pardubice, May 20th, 2023
OVERVIEW OF QUALIFIED HORSES – Situation after QR1
|horse||trainer||owner||date of qualification|
|ARGANO, 9||Liška Martin||Marek Šimák||20.05.2023|
|DULCAR DE SIVOLA(FR), 10||Jirčáková Vendula||DiJana Dobšice||20.05.2023|
|GODFREY(FR), 7||Török Dalibor||DS Pegas||20.05.2023|
|CHELMSFORD(FR), 7||Váňa st. Josef||Javor||20.05.2023|
|KAISERWALZER(GER), 10||Brečka Jaroslav||DS Millennium (SVK)||20.05.2023|
|MR SPEX(GER), 9||Urbánek Luboš||Lokotrans||09.10.2022|
|PARIS EIFFEL(IRE), 10||Cagáň Ján, Ing.||Lokotrans Slovakia (SVK)||20.05.2023|
|STRING(GER*), 10||Holčák Radek||K-K Metal a.s.||20.05.2023|