Velká Pardubická Steeplechase

Velká pardubická is a famous steeplechase cross-country run in Pardubice, Bohemia (now the Czech Republic) since 1874. It is a significant social and sporting event of the steeplechase season. It takes place (unusually) every year on the second Sunday in October. The length of the steeplechase is 6.9 km, with 31 obstacles. It usually takes 9–10 minutes to finish the course. The fastest time recorded was 8 minutes and 58.99 seconds. Horses starting in the race must be at least six years old, and Czech horses must qualify by finishing at least one of four qualifying races during the season. On the Pardubice racecourse, the horses must tackle a difficult track with thirty-one obstacles. The most impressive include Velký Taxisův příkop (Great Taxis Ditch), which has the reputation of being the toughest obstacle of the race (and probably also the most difficult in the world scope), and it is jumped only once a year and only in one race.

The most successful horse in the history of the race is the chestnut Železník, which was the only one to have won a total of four times. Its first success was in 1987, then in 1988, 1989 and 1991 – always ridden by jockey Josef Váňa. In total, the horse competed at Velká Pardubická seven times. He was also the first horse needed to overcome the 6900-metre long track in less than ten minutes.

The most successful rider in the Velká Pardubická is the eight-time winner Josef Váňa. Four times he won with the already-mentioned horse Železník, the fifth was in 1997 in the saddle of the bay, Vronský. The sixth title was won in 2009 with a bay, Tíumenem, then again in 2010 and 2011.

The English rider Williamson, who won the Velká Pardubická in 1890 and 1893, is the only one whose name can also be found on the list of winners of the Grand National steeplechase in Liverpool.

The track record has been held since 2008 by No. Sixteen with jockey Josef Bartoš, who won his second victory in a time of 8:58.99 minutes.

Ticket prices range from 190 to 2800 CZK, and racing events take about three hours.

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