Thirty-one obstacles, a stone-wall and four miles and quarter miles will face the twenty-one strong field in the Velka Pardubicka
Europe’s toughest equine test is in its 123rd year and is the most valuable of all of the races that make up Crystal Cup Cross Country series. The almost 200,000 Euros prize pot of this year’s renewal has been a strong enough of a pull to see Irish trainer Edna Bolger send a team of three to the Czech Republic – Freney’s Well, Zest For Life and Mount Sion.
Jockey Sam Waley-Cohen will be partnering Zest For Life in the marathon contest and will look to add the Velka Pardubicka to his growing tally of big race wins. Trainer Nick Williams will be represented by the seven-year-old Shalimar Fromentro.
With the 2012 winner Orphee Des Blins and the three times winner Tiumen (2009, 2010 and 2011) in the field, Bolger’s and Williams’ challengers will face strong opposition in their attempt to take the prize.
Let’s hope that Sunday 13 October will not be unlucky for any of the runners and that they all make it safely over the infamous Taxis Ditch which has claimed many in the history of this steeplechase.
There is no doubt that the unique Velka Pardubicka has a special place in the calendar and is the supreme test of stamina and jumping in Europe.
(Featured Photograph – Wedger Pardy leads the field at the Cheltenham Festival by Stuart Rice)