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Velka Pardubicka Steeplechase

The Czech Racing Season

Horse racing in the Czech Republic is not a winter sport and the season usually starts at the beginning of April and ends sometime in November. Racing takes place mostly at weekends and there is usually one meeting on a Saturday and one on Sunday. It is very rare that there will be two meetings staged on the same day. They will also race on the occasional public holiday.


Racing at Pardubice

Pardubice stages ten days sport a year and nine are all jumps affairs. They race over the famous cross country course and over conventional steeplechases which are run on an oval track opened in 1994. Mixed meetings have never really worked at Pardubice and flat racing (introduced in 1995) has been reduced to a handful of minor events on the eve of the Velka. Apart from the Velka they race mostly on Saturdays to allow the top jockeys to ride in Italy on Sundays. The season is geared up to the Pardubice with the four qualifiers staged throughout the season in May, June, August and September, Most racedays will have a theme to them. The Gold Cup, the premier conventional steeplechase is run in early June.

Other Racecourses

Whilst this website is primarily interested in the Velka Pardubicka and racing at Pardubice the Czech Republic has a lot to offer the racing enthusiast. There are thirteen racecourses with twelve offering some form of jumping on their programmes 

BENESOV 

Just one fixture a year since 2011 and in 2015 at their fixture the turf was looking in very poor condition. No meeting in 2016 and none scheduled for 2017 so the course may have closed.

BRNO

Three days sport with meetings in April, May and  September over a figure of eight course which is close to the airport. Tragically Michal Kohl was a rare jockey fatality following a fall here in September 2015

KARLOVY VARY

Well worth a visit for the ornate grandstands but not of much interest to jumping enthusiasts since 2002 when they dug up the cross country course to make room for a golf course. The occasional steeplechase is run over portable fences that are attached to the running rail and folded away after use. Seven meetings scheduled between April and September and since 2016 this is the new venue for the Czech Oaks.

KOLESA

Three meetings between April and November and since 2013 they have brought the curtain down on the Czech season. Only racecourse in the Czech Republic with a water splash

LYSA NAD LABEM

Traditionally starts the Czech jumps season with its premier steeplechase, the First of May Steeplechase. In recent years other racecourses have had that honour but for the purists things start to get interesting when Lysa races in May. Three meetings scheduled in 2017 between April and July. 

MIMON

Possibly the least prestigious course in the Czech Republic.The fields are small, the ground rock hard and the facilities sparse. No racing staged between 2012 & 2014 but they have revamped their steeplechase course. Opened the season for the first time in 2017 and will be staging four days sport, the most in its history.

MOST

A feat of Czech engineering the racecourse was built on the site of a former open cast mine. Opened in 1997 and used to stage  the Czech Oaks in late July (until 2015) together with its premier steeplechase, the Velka Mostecka run over 4500m which regularly attracts some of the top Czech chasers. Seven days sport between May & November.

NETOLICE 

Just one days sport in August with it`s own Velka. 

SLUSOVICE

The only racecourse in the eastern province of Moravia the course was opened during the eighties and used to stage lots of meetings. It  suffered leans times of late in part due to land restitution claims dating back to the second world war however, its premier steeplechase the Velka Slusovicka has recently been revived and is a late season highlight. Check out the buildings - wow !

SVETLA HORA

Stages a one day jumps only fixture a year in the summer. The fields are small but the quality is good.

VELKA CHUCLE (PRAHA)

Pragues racecourse and the centre of flat racing. They stage trotting races on Saturdays and flat racing on Sundays. All Czech classics apart from the Oaks are run here. Steeplechasing disappeared in the eighties although it was briefly resurrected in the mid noughties. Hurdle races are run at most meetings after the summer break and there is a very interesting Category 1 Hurdle race run in September.  They will race 16 times in 2017 between April & June and September & October.


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