Velká Pardubická Steeplechase is Approaching
Just a few days remain until the Czech Republic’s most renowned horse race. Modeled after the Grand National in Liverpool, it’s actually the oldest and most challenging steeplechase in continental Europe.
It’s set to start on October 8, 2023, so don’t miss it!
The Velka Pardubicka Steeplechase or Grand Pardubice Steeplechase (the Czech Grand National) was first run on 4 November 1874, when 14 runners started the race.
The winner, Fantom, ridden by Englishman George Sayers received 11,700 florins for his owner Count von Cramm. The race has been held every year since on the second Sunday in October – except during the two world wars and the 1968 Russian invasion, and it has been abandoned twice due to frost and snow.
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 8:58 minutes.
Horses starting in the race must be at least 6 years old and Czech horses must qualify by finishing at least one of four qualifying races during the season.
The most impressive obstacle is the so called Velký Taxisův příkop (Great Taxis Ditch), which has the reputation of being the toughest obstacle of the race and it is jumped only once a year and only in one race.
As well as the Taxi Ditch – which has become a symbol of the race – other obstacles include the Irish Bank – an obstacle where horses have to shimmer up and down a steep artificial bank, the French Jump – where a pair of hedges, spaced closely together, must be jumped as one, and a water jump which is three meters long.
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