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Eight-time winner Váňa not to join Grand Pardubice steeplechase

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Pardubice, East Bohemia, Sept 16 (CTK) – Popular Czech jockey Josef Vana, 64, a record eight-time winner of the Grand Pardubice steeplechase, will not take part in the prestigious race on October 8 due to persisting hip troubles, he has announced but said he does not plan to end his career.

“Whenever I mount a horse to jump, even an experienced horse stops with me in the saddle. The horses feel that something is wrong,” Vana told Czech Radio earlier this week.

“I am not giving up. If the doctors help me rid of my trouble, I will gladly start working hard again,” Vana said.

Vana wanted to take part in the third qualification race in summer ahead of Grand Pardubice, but the hip pain did not allow him to.

He said he might resume his participation as a jockey in Grand Pardubice next year, since he otherwise considers his health condition good enough to cope with the 6,900-metre race.

Vana has participated in Grand Pardubice 28 times, in 1985 for the first time. He won four times with the horse Zeleznik, once with Vronsky and three times with Tiumen.

His latest participation in the race was three years ago.

On October 8, he will send three to four horses to the race his capacity as a coach. The horses he wants to field are Zarif, No Time to Lose, Ange Guardian and possibly also Power Zar.

Vana, a jockey, coach and horse breeder who will turn 65 in October, was elected a member of the Karlovy Vary Regional Assembly in 2016.

In 2009, then president Vaclav Klaus bestowed a Medal of Merit on him.

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