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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Thrill-seekers: Leighton Aspell among four British riders in Pardubicka line-up

Runners in the Pardubicka: the most famous race in the Czech Republic
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3.40 Pardubice
128th Velka Pardubicka S Ceskou Pojistovnou (Listed) | 4m2½f | 6yo+ | RUK

Dual Grand National winner Leighton Aspell will make his Velka Pardubicka debut on Sunday alongside fellow British-based riders Tom Garner, James Best and Andrew Glassonbury. 

This famous cross-country chase is not for the faint-hearted, with the 20-strong field taking in 31 obstacles, including the Taxis Ditch, a fearsome four-metre long ditch following a metre-and-a-half hedge.

"I'm not phased by the Taxis Ditch," said Glassonbury. "Like every jump, you gallop down to it and just hope you get over it. The horse will do the jumping and hopefully I'm still there with him if he does!

"The first mile is the biggest challenge and you have a decent chance of getting involved if you get through it. The majority of problems come then, as it's the section with the biggest jumps." 

Glassonbury, who has ridden in numerous cross-country chases at Cheltenham, will ride Nikas, who was first past the post in 2015 before being disqualified after failing a drugs test.

"I've always wanted to take part in the race," said Glassonbury. "Tom Garner gave me a call out of the blue, because they were looking for lads and were keen to use me as I've raced at the track before.

"I’ve watched replays on the train to the airport, and the crowd they attract is ridiculous. It has such history and seems to be a massive national sporting event. It’s great to be a part of it."

The last British jockey to win the race – live on Racing UK at 3.40pm – was Charlie Mann, who won with Its A Snip in 1995. 

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The horse will do the jumping and hopefully I'm still there with him if he does!
E.W. Terms
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