British racehorses travel to the Czech Republic to tackle Sunday’s infamous Velka Pardubicka cross-country race
Eyes will switch this weekend from the famous homes of flat racing at Ascot, York, The Curragh and Longchamp to Pardubice in the Czech Republic, the scene of one of the sports most gruelling events, Sunday’s four and a quarter mile Velka Pardubicka.
Northants trainer Kim Bailey’s chaser Supreme Charm ventures into unknown territory as he tackles this unique cross-country race over banks, ploughed fields and the famous, forbidding Taxis fence.
Bailey told the Racing Channel earlier this week that his assistant was already out there. “He stands six foot one and told me couldn’t see over the top of the Taxis fence,” said Bailey.
Supreme Charm won the Sporting Index Chase over Cheltenham’s cross-country course last season and Bailey believes he has the right horse for such a demanding job.
Supreme Charm will be joined by the Tom George-trained Frileux Royal and Ferdy Murphy’s Irish Stamp, who finished second in the race five years ago as a seven-year-old.
On home soil
On the domestic front sprint specialist Dandy Nicholls sends Lord Merlin all the way from his Thirsk stables in North Yorkshire for the Willmott Dixon Cornwallis Stakes at Ascot.
Lord Merlin went to The Curragh for the valuable Tattersalls Breeders Stakes in August following a highly promising third behind the brilliant Johannesburg in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot. He ran a fine race to finish third behind Bella Chica and Partytime. He should reverse that form with Partytime here.
Ranin represents Ed Dunlop’s highly successful string of fillies with a winning chance in the Princess Royal Willmott Dixon Stakes. This daughter of Unfuwain was narrowly beaten in a desperate finish at Longchamp last Sunday and Dunlop would not be running her if he didn’t think she had recovered from her recent exertions.
James Given enjoyed his greatest moment as a trainer with I Cried For You in the Cambridgeshire last weekend and has always held high hopes for Mr Sandancer who could further enhance his reputation in the Tom McGee Autumn Stakes.
King’s Ballet, whose sister Imperial Beauty won France’s top sprint, the Prix de l’Abbaye in Paris on Sunday, should complete a family double in the Tote Exacta Stakes.
York’s final meeting has that impossible backend look about it. Access Denied (3.10) and Candleriggs (4.15), in the red and white colours of Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, may be worth following.