Most famous for winning the 2009 Grand National on board the rank outsider and 100/1 Mon Mome, grand national jockey Liam Treadwell could possibly make history tomorrow as he takes on the Czech Republic's version of the Grand National.
Velká pardubická is a famous steeplechase cross-country race in Pardubice, Czech Republic that has been running since 1874. Notoriously difficult, it is 4 1/4 miles, with 31 obstacles including the Taxis fence which is huge. It has been modified slightly in recent years, but it is still not for the faint-hearted. Becher’s Brook is Aintree's nearest equivalent and that is dwarfed by Taxis!
Treadwell will ride the Czech-trained second favourite Trezor, winner of two Velka qualifiers and speaking to The Telegraph, he recalled how is relationship with Trezor began saying “When I started riding it was for Amanda Perrett and there was a Czech lad in the yard, who became a great friend. He has since become a blacksmith back home and when he heard that Hana Kabelkova [the trainer] needed a jockey for Trezor he suggested me.”
Regarding his chances on Trezor he said “He’s a very strong travelling horse so I wouldn’t want the ground too soft. In both trials he sprinted away from the last fence. I would love to ride him a staying chase here, because I think he would be good enough to win.”
Competition will be tough in the form of 59-year-old jockey Josef Vana, who despite missing half his ribs and recovering from a broken thigh in the spring, has won it eight times from his 25 starts as a jockey and nine times as a trainer, including the last three renewals on Tiumen.
But that won't put Treadwell off as he is bidding for the history books. Only one jockey has ever won both the Aintree Grand National and the Velká pardubická races and that was George Williamson 113 years ago. He took the Czech race in 1890 and, nine years later, rode Manifesto to victory in the Grand National. Treadwell is well placed to join him.
Odds with Paddy Power Bookmakers have him at 7/2 so still some great value!