Kasim is a surpise winner of the first VP qualification race
The first of the four qualification races for the Velka Pardubicka with Česká pojišťovna was a dramatic race with an exciting finish. 11-y-o Kasim, which battled to the end with Rabbit Well, was a surprise winner. Then there was a protest, and Hegnus was moved into second place ahead of Rabbit Well. The stewards decided that the 10-y-o representative of Rabbit Trhový Štěpánov was guilty of crossing and interfering with Hegnus. The winning jockey was Kasim’s regular partner, Marcel Novák, who was completing a hat-trick on the day.
Kasim was winning his second VP qualification race. He has run three times in the Velka, never finishing worse than in 5th place.
There were 19 runners, and Lingarry went straight into the lead. After the Big English Fence, Kasim, in the Stáj Kejzlar colours, went into the lead. He was never headed, despite a battle with Hegnus and Rabbit Well in the run in. Marcel Novák was of course highly satisfied after the race. “Kasim likes an active race, and today he jumped excellently. He showed his class,” Novák said after the race.
In the run in, Kasim battled with Rabbit Well, trained by Josef Váňa snr and ridden by his son, Josef Váňa jnr, and with Hegnus, trained by Čestmír Olehla and ridden by Jan Kratochvíl. Rabbit Well crossed the line in 2nd place, but was demoted to third place after a stewards’ enquiry. The stewards judged that Rabbit Well had crossed Hegnus and that this had affected the result of the race. Rabbit Well finished 4th in the VP last year, and is now an experienced competitor over the Pardubice crosscountry course. Hegnus, trained by Čestmír Olehla for Stáj Ševců, has not yet run in the VP. The next horses to finish were Vandual, Al Jaz, Reaper and Pareto. Well-fancied Zarif only managed 8th place. The Nikas fan club was disappointed by his finish in second-to-last place. Last year’s Velka Pardubicka winner Ribelino was pulled up, but as winner of the 2015 race he qualifies automatically. Other horses to finish the race and thus qualify for the VP were Klaus, Templář, Modena and Lingarry. However, Ter Mill, Sherardo, Amaragon and Lorain were non-finishers.
Fourteen out of the nineteen runners completed the first qualification race for the 126th running of the Velka Pardubicka with Česká pojišťovna, and are qualified to run on October 9th. The fourteenth finisher was Eldorado, which is not entered for the big race. However, if his connections decide to run him, they can make a supplementary entry before the August deadline or the September deadline.