Hegnus introduced himself only once in the season, finishing fifth in the second qualification in June. In what form is it?
I think he keeps his standard. He is not such that he somehow gets into work at work, but he is ready. It is very important to have the ground under his feet, to enjoy the race and to avoid collisions. Then we will definitely fight for the front rungs.
Would a soft surface suit him very well?
Definitely. It is its age and it is better if it has softer underfoot than harder soil. Plus for him, and overall for older horses.
The big one is seldom dominated by a horse older than twelve years. The last time this was done in 1991 was Železník, who was then thirteen. Do you believe that Hegnus can imitate him?
He has been proving his worth for many years, he has top results, he has nothing to prove. Mainly so that the race goes well, so that he retires satisfied and healthy. And what the result will be on Sunday, it will be. We’ll see. But defending with a thirteen-year-old horse will certainly be difficult.
What is its nature?
A complete treat, a phlegmatic, a really problem-free horse. (smile)
You dominated September’s fourth qualifying for the Great in the saddle of Kaiserwalzer. Was it in the game that you would start with Hegnus on Sunday with him?
You know that there was interest from the owner of the Kaiserwalzer. They asked if I would ride it, but I have Hegnus and I stand behind it. I go to the Holčák family, I have been cooperating with them for many years. I’m the first rider here and if they don’t change anything, I ride those horses. Of course, if there was an injury, I’d probably change to Kaiser. But otherwise I ride Hegnus.
Last year’s winners of the Great Pardubice: jockey Lukáš Matuský and bay Hegnus.
Vlastimil Vacek, Right
What race are you waiting for on Sunday?
Open. He can win the first, but also the sixth favorite. There are more candidates. It depends on the course of the race, its pace, who will sit on the ground, who will be lucky, he will avoid carom …
Among the aspirants for the victory are the charges of coach Váni. Are they the biggest threat to you?
Certainly. I like No Time To Lose, it obviously has the form it had four years ago when he won the Great. Theophilos is also a good horse. Young Mahe King is going to learn. Theophilos and No Time are definitely aspiring first places.
The spectators will return to the galleries after a year. Are you already looking forward to the traditional roar from the stands?
Certainly. When the crowd starts to cheer, clap, we riders in the race hear all this. It will kick us too. The adrenaline of the audience plays its part.
The dreaded Taxis was modified, and the organizers refined the landing edge to prevent fatal injuries to horses. What do you say to change the obstacle?
I think she should have stayed the way she was. No changes were to be made. The horse may break his leg or cause serious injury on a lower obstacle. The Great Pardubice is also about Taxis, the hedge remained, just the landing edge leveled out a bit, so there was no such significant change.
In Velká, will you introduce yourself for the sixth time in your career, how to successfully manage Taxis?
It is important to have the right speed and so that the horse does not make a mistake in front of him, he bounces early or from one leg. Good rebound, good rebound, and we’re moving on. But when horses are good, they can handle it on their own.
The start is approaching. Do you already feel tension in your body?
I’m fine so far, I’m not solving anything, everything will come on the day of the race. But when I get on a horse, stress and panic go sideways. I only focus on what I have.
Will you have your girlfriend and one-year-old son Maxim in the stands?
Yes, the family will be there with me. Fans from Záhora will also come. (Záhorie – editor’s note) One family arrives, there will be about five. If there’s anyone else, we’ll see … (smile)