Velka Pardubicka - Pardubiche

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The Velka Pardubicka is one of the most exciting and testing steeplechase races in the world. This race is run over a distance of 4m2.5f with an incredible 31 obstacles and takes place on 8th October. It takes around 9-10 minutes to complete the course but this isn’t an easy task as proven by the fact that there is always at least one horse who doesn’t manage it all the way round. One of the most famous obstacles and also one of the most dangerous is the Taxis which consists of a 1m deep, 4m long ditch with a 1.5m high hedge. In previous years this fence was even more challenging in measurements. The true test and variety of obstacles the field have to overcome really does make for an entertaining afternoon.

The race takes place in one of Europe’s most fashionable cities, Prague, over a mixture of grass and plough which makes it all the more unique. The only race the Velka Pardubicka can compare to is the most famous steeplechase in the world, the Grand National however, this more historic race is definitely the most dramatic and controversial.  

The racecourse itself was established in 1856 but has changed quite a bit since the end of the second world war. Over the years the course itself has changed several times with the most recent change being the direction in which the final phase of the race is run in 1998. Some of the obstacles have been adjusted to raise the level of safety for horses and riders but this does not mean it is any easier to tackle.

Last year the Velka Pardubicka was won by a horse named Charme Look ridden by four time winning jockey Jan Faltejsek. The best horse to have made it round and won the Velka Pardubicka and incredible four times is Zeleznik. It is rare to see any British jockeys take part in the race but many have ridden around the course at other times and have reported it to be like no other...one that really tests the nerves.

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Prague is a beautiful city with some amazing architecture, food and culture to enjoy. There are plenty of sights to see including the breathtaking St Vitus Cathedral, the Old Town Square and Lobkowicz Palace. A great variety of bars and restaurants are dotted around and offer many different cuisines and experiences. The Black Angels bar is a must if you enjoy a tipple and is situated in the gothic cellar of the U Prince Hotel in the main square. The racecourse is located about an hours drive from the centre but the trip is well worth it.

Racing Breaks offer you a two night stay bed and breakfast at the Hilton hotel in the centre of Prague. This packages comes with hospitality tickets to the Racing Breaks box where you can enjoy the racing with a view as well as drink and dine in great company.

For more information on packages and tickets available to book now, please click here.

Olivia Spiller