Velka Pardubice; Horse Race
When it comes to Pardubice, you can recall a lot of things. It does not matter if it is hockey, gingerbread or Pernstein family. Many people associate them with horses. And it has a logical justification. Apart from the fact that our town has a half horse (the top, not the butt), there are many races here. The most prestigious is called Velká Pardubická and has an overlap outside of the Czech Republic. And that is also the topic of today’s article.
“Velká pardubická” is a horse race (cross-country steeplechase), which takes place every second Sunday in October at the racecourse in Pardubice. The Great Pardubice race has a long tradition, and it has previously been said to be the most difficult race in Europe. In the Czech lands, this race has the longest sporting tradition. When the football league of Czechoslovakia began to play, Velká Pardubická had fifty starts behind it!
Let´s do a little history!
At first there were hunts. Parfours to be accurate. Higher nobility dressed in colorful coats with a pack of dogs and horses haunted deer and overcome various natural obstacles. This type of entertainment soon became popular in Bohemia. The first race took place in 1836 in the humble estate of Oktavian Josef Count Kinský.The first year of the oldest race, The Liverpool Grand National Steeplechase, was also held in 1836. This English race inspired the rest of Europe. Thanks to the activity of Liechtenstein Prince Franz these hunts moved to Pardubice. The first race track here was built in 1856. Thanks to the effort to create new and unusual hurdles, a unique and difficult racetrack was created.The first Great Pardubice steeplechase was running on November 5, 1874 and 14 horses were on the start. The victory was taken by the thoroughbred stallion Fantome with English jockey George Sayers in the saddle. The race was completed by just 7 horses. The course of the race and the result attracted acclaim not only in our country. Since then, the Great has been running every year, with the exception of war years, due to political events in 1968 (the adjacent military airport was occupied by Soviet soldiers) and due to the unfavorable weather in 1876 and 1908. Today’s form has racing since the first post-war years.
Today, Great Pardubice is held on the second Sunday of October. The track of this race is 6900 meters long and has a total of 31 hurdles, horses running it for approximately 9-10 minutes. There are about 15 to 20 horses with the best jockeys and jockeys mainly from the Czech Republic. In the Great Pardubice, only 6-year-old and older horses may qualify for one of the four qualifying races. These qualifications take place in the same place throughout the year.
This year, on October 14, 2018, took place for the 128th year. This year’s winner was the Faltejsek jockey with horse named the Tzigan Du Berlais.