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Talent wins the day in Velka Pardubicka – but disappointment for Patrick Mullins

Talent made it third time lucky when getting up in the closing stages to lift the 131st Velka Pardubicka at Pardubice, as Patrick Mullins made an early exit.

Seventh in 2019 and fourth 12 months ago, the 10-year-old finally had his day in the famous cross-country chase over four miles two and a half furlongs in the Czech Republic.

Trained by Hana Kabelkova, Talent stayed on stoutly on the run-in to grab Evzen and pull away for victory in the hands of Pavel Slozil.

There was drama in the early stages when leading Irish amateur Mullins was unseated from Kaiserwalzer at fence four, the daunting Taxis ditch. Mullins was able to walk away none the worse. Player was also a casualty there.

Mullins said: “I’m gutted that we went out at the Taxis fence. Will take it on the chin, but very disappointed.”

Then at the road crossing, a loose horse caused chaos with Sztorm among those carried out and Beau Rochelais badly hampered. Theophilos, the winner in 2019, fell at the mini Taxis as the field continued to thin out.

As the race took shape as they headed towards the racecourse proper for the final few obstacles, Evzen made his bid for glory. He looked to have race sewn up, but Talent started to pull back the deficit and got his head in front close to the winning line.

Mr Spex was third with No Time To Lose fourth and last year’s winner Hegnus fifth. Nine of the 19 runners completed the course.