Last-minute entry to Melbourne Cup Czech horse ‘Trip to Rhodes’ surprises Racing Victoria

By @vitthernandez on
Prince of Penzance
Prince of Penzance ridden by Michelle Payne (green cap) wins race 7 the Melbourne Cup during the Melbourne Cup race day at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Victoria November 3, 2015. Reuters/Hamish Blair

The entry of a horse from the Czech Republic for the Melbourne Cup in November surprised Racing Victoria on Tuesday. It is the first Czech entry in 155 years, creating another chapter in the great race.

Trip to Rhodes made it to the noon cut-off time, bringing to 124 the number of nominations. The Australian reports that Racing Victoria international scout Leigh Jordon was surprised to see an entry from Czech Republic, where horseracing is not a major sport, since he was not given advanced notice.

The Czech Republic has Velka Pardubicka, a steeplechase race that started in 1874, but other sports such as soccer, ice hockey, volleyball, tennis and skiing are more popular than racing. Dr Jiri Charvat, owner of the horse, however, is a big racing player since he is the president of the Czech Republic Jockey Club and his company, Charvat Group, manufactures hydraulic equipment.

Velka Pardubicka Riders compete during the 121st Velka Pardubicka Steeplechase horse race in Pardubice October 9, 2011.  Reuters/David W Cerny

The horse is Charvat Group’s top galloper, a Listed winner at San Siroand in Italy and Baden racetracks in Germany. In October, Trip to Rhodes finished fourth in the Group I Prix du Cadran at Longchamp in France and placed in the Group III Prix de Barbeville at Chantilly and Group II Prix Kergolay at Deauville in August.

Other horses listed for the Melbourne Cup include Order of St George from Coolmore and Scottish from Godolphin which has a total of 16 horses from its Australian operations. From Japan, there is Curren Mirotic, while from France there is Erupt.

Also running are 2015 winner Prince of Penzance, Our Ivanhowe which is the winner of the Doomben Cup and Ruling Dynasty. The 124 horses are running at the Flemington Racecourse on Nov 1, the first Tuesday of the month.

Early betting favourite is Order of St George at $11, followed by Signoff ($17), Tarzino ($21), Curren Mirotic ($21) and Big Orange ($21).

VIDEO: Melbourne Cup Carnival 2016 – Corporate & Public Hospitality

Source: Flemington Racecourse