Velká Pardubická Preview 2020, for Sunday 11th October 2020
This year’s preview comes from good friend, Alex, who was also part of our Prague raiding party last year. Hopefully next year will be a bit more like ‘normal’ and we can go again. It’s a superb weekend and if you’ve never been, I’d recommend the trip. And Prague is definitely a must. Alex knows his stuff, both Czech racing and the Point to Point scene over here, dabbling in a bit of bloodstock on the side. In recent times he’s purchased a handful of horses for leading syndicates, inc Foxtrot Racing. You can follow him on Twitter HERE>>>
This race will be shown on RTV again, scheduled to start around 15.40 I believe, but do check.
Alex has been through the runners and riders below and I’ll now hand over to him… (his 1-2-3 shortlist is at the bottom)
To start I have got to say it’s a real shame I can’t be there this year due to obvious reasons and the event has been compressed into one day, behind closed doors.
A few quick stats for the race –
- The race is over 6900 metres with 31 obstacles to jump. (a course map at the bottom of the post)
- Prize money is down from 5 million Czech krona to 3 million this year. (around £100k)
- In the last 10 years we’ve had an age range of winners between 7 and 12.
- Jan Faltejsek has ridden 5 wins in that time.
- The biggest price winner was 55/1 and there have been four odds on winners.
- This year 18 will go to post on what is looking likely to be good, good to firm ground.
- There are no Irish or British runners, or jockeys, this year.
The obvious place to start is with last seasons winner THEOPHILOS. The 10 year old is trained by Josef Vana Senior and this year will be ridden by Jan Odložil, who takes over from the injured Josef Bartos. He returned to action in July this year and won a qualifier from HEGNUS but was made to battle hard. He then ran again in August but was a well beaten fourth, including behind TALENT. He didn’t jump with his usual fluency that day so it could be that something was not quite right. He looks to have every chance again this year but Odložil, although a capable jockey with 7 wins this season, is not Josef Bartos and that has to be factored into things. He was only 5/2 when winning last year.
HEGNUS is trained by the very good Radek Holčák and was second in 2018 behind TZIGANE DU BERLAIS, beaten 3 lengths. Since that excellent run he’s got his head in front once and returned to the track after 10 months off in July, where he ran THEOPHILOS to a neck in a ding dong battle up the run in. He will be ridden by Lukas Matuský who has ridden 12 winners this season and has finished 5th in the race before. He holds every chance.
LODGIAN WHISTLE is the joint youngest in the race at 7 years of age and has winning form at the track, including at this meeting last season over 5200 metres. In August this year he comfortably won the qualifier with TALENT and THEOPHILOS behind him. He jumped well that day under the same rider – the veteran Jaroslav Myška. His partner Štěpánka Myšková trains the horse at Valy, which is very close to the course. Jaroslav has ridden 5 winners this season from 45 rides. Although he needs to improve, he is only 7 and the extra distance looks perfect for him.
SOTTOVENTO is an 8 year old German bred and has won 3 races, all at this track. He is another trained by Josef Vana Senior and was third in a race at this meeting last year, when well beaten behind LODGIAN WHISTLE. He will be ridden by the much improved Jan Kratochvíl, who has ridden 12 winners this season. This season he’s run 3 times and been placed third and second before winning his last race in late August, over 5800 metres. That day he settled well and moved closer at half way, jumping well. When he moved to a more prominent position he took a good hold and simply tanked through the rest of the race, drawing clear of a good field. If he settles earlier and doesn’t get too lit up. the race could be his for the taking. But that is a big if.
TZIGANE DU BERLAIS – the 2018 winner and owned by the most famous doctor in racing – DR Charvat – and he will wear the famous blue and yellow colours. He will be ridden by the ever green ex-British based jockey Jan Faltejsek who is retained by Dr Charvat. Jan is riding out of his skin at the moment and has ridden 29 winners this season and leads both the Czech and Italian jump jockey championships. TZIGANE DU BERLAIS was well fancied for the race last year but came to grief at the famous taxis jump. Since that race he has not looked the same horse. He has only run once and finished a well beaten 6th in a qualifier. It is not the result that is the main concern but the way he travelled. He was never going well and Jan did well to even get him to finish. If any trainer can get him spot on it would be Pavel Tůma who has trained 23 winners from 76 runners this season. But there is a huge question mark over this horse and he has a lot to prove.
STRETTON is a regular in these type of races and carried my money in the race last year, when ridden by the well travelled British jockey Tom Garner. He ran a cracker, jumping well and was actually leading on the run in but just got out stayed late on by THEOPHILOS. This year he will be ridden by Marek Stromský who has ridden 3 winners this season. There is a thought it all fell right for him last season and he still couldn’t win. Marek has ridden him in his two races this season where he ran 4th and 5th over shorter distances. For me he has question marks but should give you a run for your money.
NO TIME TO LOSE is by Authorized out of a Peintre Celebre mare so i don’t think the breeders ever thought he would be a Velka horse. He actually started his career as a 2 year old at Sandown over 7 furlongs under Fergus Sweeney. Funny how things turn out. He is another from the Josef Vana Senior yard and has won 6 races over jumps. In 2018 he ran 5th in this behind TZIGANE DU BERLAIS. He missed the race last year. In 2020 he’s run 3 average races finishing 2nd, 6th and falling last time. This year he will be ridden by Jakub Kocman who doesn’t ride many winners, only 5 in the last 3 seasons. He looks to have it all to do.
MAZHILIS will be ridden by Jiří Kousek, again for the Josef Vana Senior yard. He has ridden 3 winners this season. The horse ran his best race in this race last year finishing 4th beaten around 8 lengths. This was a career best and he has not shown that form since. He has questions to answer but can Vana Senior get him cherry ripe for this?
PLAYER, VANDUAL, TALENT and RIBELINO all ran in the race last year. TALENT finished 7th under Leighton Aspell and VANDUAL finished 8th. Both were well beaten. TALENT never travelled and it was found that the horse was suffering from some joint pain. If the rain did come he might run well at a big price.
VANDUAL looks short of winning material.
PLAYER fell last year but has run 3rd and 2nd this season so he might go well at a price under Marcel Novák.
RIBELINO is trained by Luboš Urbánek and won this race back in 2015, but now aged 12 he looks regressive. CASPER is an 8 year old by Martaline and is ridden by the excellent Bulgarian jockey Sertash Ferhanov who is also based with Guillaume Macaire in France. He is trained by the vet Čestmír Olehla, in Zhoř. In August he ran 2nd over 5200 metres in a class 2 race. On the face of it he has plenty to find but could well still be improving and is tackling this trip for the first time. Each way chance?
CATCH LIFE is 12 now and seems regressive although he did win a small race in Slovakia in June. He will be ridden by veteran Swedish jockey Niklas Lovén who has ridden 4 winners this year. He will need others to under perform to hit the places.
DULCAR DE SIVOLA is only 7 so could improve. He finished a well beaten 9th last year but was 4th in July in a qualifier behind THEOPHILOS, HEGNUS and PLAYER but ahead of MAHONY, CASPER, MAZHILIS, VANDUAL, BUGSIE MALONE and RIBELINO. He will be ridden by Josef Borč who has only ridden 1 winner in 3 years. If you like an outsider?
MAHONY is an 8 year old who has only won one race in his career. He didn’t finish the race last season and has finished out of the places since. Trained by Stanislav Popelka and ridden by Hakim Tabet who has 7 career wins. He will be a big price and needs a career best to trouble the principals.
BUGSIE MALONE is the ex Chris Gordon trained horse. He is a multiple winner but looks regressive. Hopefully he gives Adam Čmiel a good ride.
ALL SCATER is still a maiden after 20 career starts. He will be ridden by Veronika Škvařilová-Řezáčová who is a decent enough jockey. She has ridden 7 career wins but this horse will be any price and let’s hope he keeps out of trouble.
My tissue prices
THEOPHILOS 11/2 , HEGNUS 7/1 , LODGIAN WHISTLE 8/1 , SOTTOVENTO 10/1 , TZIGANE DU BERLAIS 14/1 , STRETTON 14/1 , NO TIME TO LOSE 16/1 , MAZHILIS 25/1 , PLAYER 25/1 , VANDUAL 28/1 , CASPER 28/1 , TALENT 33/1 , CATCH LIFE 50/1 , DULCAR DU SIVOLA 50/1 , MAHONY 66/1 , BUGSIE MALONE 80/1 , RIBELINO 100/1 , ALL SCATER 500/1
My 1-2-3 shortlist
Sottovento – Theophilos – Mazhilis
Many thanks and best of luck,