Author Archives: Borut Bernik Bogataj

European Jockey Cup 2016, Prague 24. 9.

This race is… a bit different than the other races.

First the handicappers assign the handicap marks (murky business, believe me, with the rules bent according to the likes and needs) and then the trainers of the entered horses choose the jockeys one after another – according to “handicap placing” of each horse.

We were able to secure Jaroslav LINEK for Pretorian (GB) and Jozef BOJKO for Zwegat (GER). Pretorian will start from gate 2 and Zwegat from gate 16.

Last Sunday we scored 2 x 2

Last Sunday my “girl’s power” placed second. Twice!

Eva Gore (GB) had a bit of bad luck at the start. She was left at the end of the pack and nevertheless managed to gobble the lost ground and in the middle of the finishing straight it aleva-gore-raceready looked as she was going to win, but the extra effort she had to put in catching the leaders emptied her resources and she was beaten a length at the end. Still I am happy with her performance and am looking forward to her next race that should come up quite soon.



Viva Lea (CZE) obviously prefers larger tracks with longer straights. Under the master ride of Jaroslav LINEK she missed the first place by only 1/2 a length… and she was still coming. If the racviva-lea-racee would develop a bit different, I am sure, she would be able to win. Unfortunately this was her last chance to become a black type winner (there are no black type races for her in the racing calendar of the tracks around us), so we will have to settle with a national Listed placing.



(all photos by: Zsanett Berta – Photo Finish)

Budapest, 18. 9. 2016

This Sunday I send the “all woman team” to Budapest. Well, to be exact, Zoran will join them too, but I refer to the horses, of course 🙂 .

For the first time we are going to see where we stand with EVA GORE (GB), a filly running in the colors of Star Kingdom Racing (the same, as MATIDIA (GB), who won Hungarian Oaks and is aimed at St. Leger two weeks later).

Eva was racing quite intensively in the UK, winning on two occasions, so she is the absolute favorite for the 2YO “all fillies” race over 1.300m. I expect she will not disappoint and will confirm the predictions and expectations.

The other contestant is VIVA LEA (CZE), who will most probably retire from racing after this season and continue her career as a broodmare. She is improving from race to race, but lacks the luck. She always encounters the traffic problems or is bumped so much, that she can not produce her best performance. Some of the “bumpers” are entered in this race as well, but I believe that Hungarian stewards are not going to be so generous to them as the stewards in Slovakia, if they repeat this unsportly feature at the Kincsempark track as well. Viva will run in 2.000 m “all fillies and mares” race, where she is proclaimed as the second favorite, but I believe there are at least 3 horses in the race that we should consider as a very serious competition.

Both girls have Jaroslav LINEK in the saddle, they both feel good, worked well, so I expect another successful raceday (of course, we can not repeat the success from the beginning of September each time, but another Listed win would not be that bad, wouldn’t it? 🙂 ).


5 starts, 3 wins, 1 third and 1 fourth place (plus another fourth)

The biggest surprise was brought to us with a Zdenko ŠMIDA winning ride of VALOROUS INFLUENCE (SVK) that was really something we did not consider feasible. As I wrote in my previous post, announcing the race day, he is our little experiment and we learn from him (and about him) each and every race. Even though we are deciding on retiring him at the end of the season, he still may participate in a race or two.

(see the video here, race number III. Rubellos Trophy)

Valori Magna

 (Photo: Marek FRATRIK)

The next win came in the form of emerging superstar of my yard, PRETORIAN (GB), who literary demolished the opposition in the prestigious 1.000m Listed sprint, named in the honor of the famous OVERDOSE (GB), who sadly passed away in Germany last year. PRETORIAN took command of the pace early and when Jaroslav LINEK asked him to go, he responded instantly, to finish the race in 57.2 seconds, with the winning margin of 5 lengths. (video)

Pretorian Overdose

(Photo: Zsanett BERTA)

“The bomb from Austria” as the Hungarians nicknamed ZWEGAT (GER) is back. This time he beat the filed of respectful milers on the distance that was somehow eluding him. With Jaroslav LINEK in the saddle he was able to prevail in another prestigious Listed race – this one named by the famous IMPERIAL (HUN), and nail the most dangerous oponent BATHORY (HUN), who faded in the finishing straight. (video)

Zwegat Imperial

(Photo: Zsanett BERTA)

BRUCE FRENKY (FR) was unlucky again.  Mid-race collision threw him off the pace and he fell from the prominent “covered” position at the beginning of the pack to dead last. Being a big horse he needed the time and distance to get rolling again, which he did and managed to finish third. I decided not to protest, since there was too little time in between the races and there was the most important race at Magna Racino coming up. (see the video here, race number V. ToiToiToi – Galub ans Glück Rennen)

Bruce Magna

(Photo: Marek FRATRIK)

We were all waiting to see MATIDIA (GB) get away from the colts, but a race is a race. It is a unique one time event, where the horse and the jockey do not get a second chance. When it is done, it is done and if one judgement or decision proves wrong later on, there is no chance to correct it anymore. MATIDIA finished fourth, what is still good, but somehow I can not get rid of the impression that the pre-race instructions would result in at least a better placing. She will get her chance to revenge in Hungarian St. Leger in the beginning of October. (see the video here, race number VII. 148. Österreichiches Galloper Derby)

Matidia Magna

(Photo: Marek FRATRIK)


September 4th, 2016

This Sunday we have 5 (well, 6) horses running in two different tracks – in Budapest and (finally again!) at our home Magna racetrack in Ebreichsdorf.

According to expectations and predictions it could be the “day of the chestnuts”, namely three of my direct protégées have good chance to score. PRETORIAN (GB) and ZWEGAT (GER) in two Listed races in Budapest, and MATIDIA (GB) will hopefully fend off the competition in the 148. running of the Austrian Derby.  The race is not going to be “just another race”, but could be described even as the “battle of sexes”, because MATIDIA is the only filly in the field and the race it is not going to be “just the race” to prove which horse is better, but will prove if the colts are really that much superior over the fillies over the Classical distances.

But that does not end the string of chestnuts. As I already announced, we are helping our friends from Slovenia to put their LIBANON (GB) back on track and as far as now it looks he is headed in the right direction. If he proves himself, he will stay in training in my yard, so fingers crossed that another good horse joins my string.

Beside the chestnuts, we are going to run two bays as well. BRUCE FRENKY (FR) had real bad luck the last time out, so I think we should not be misled with the result of his last race, and VALOROUS INFLUENCE (SVK)… well, this is our little experiment, so the Sunday’s race will be a kind of an experiment as well.

Two representatives from my yard in Bratislava this Sunday


Photo: Zsanett Berta

VIVA LEA (CZE) will run in Cena Whisky (I. kat, 1.800 m), where Slovak stewards already brought controversial decisions in the past, so I just hope this time the race is going to pass “clean”, without the need to intervene with the appeal. VIVA worked well so I hope she will be able to perform at her best. They rate her as “unpredictable” – and that is the description that suits her really well! 🙂

BRUCE FRENKY (FR) will start for the first time after a more than 2 months layoff, when he was down with the respiratory infection. He will start in Memorial MVDr. Pavla Šarišskeho (II. kat, 1.200 m) and even though he will face some very good horses, proven on the Graded or Listed level (so, much above Kat II), I still believe that he can surprise.

A busy beginning of September

MATIDIA (GB) is going to face her generation of Classic contenders in Austrian Derby at our home Magna Racino track in Ebreichsdorf (yes, the races STILL DO happen there!). In addition to this historic race there will be three other galop races, where we plan to race BRUCE FRANKY (FR), VALOROUS INFLUENCE (SVK) and we will help to “break the ice” to our dear friends, brothers Gerbec, who are bringing their LIBANON (GB) back to the business.

But there will be an evenly important event for my yard going on in Budapest, where ZWEGAT (GER) and PRETORIAN (GB) are going to start in 1.600 m Imperial Dij (L) and 1.000 m Overdose Dij (L) respectively.

With some luck 4. 9. could go down as another successful day for my horses.

Looking forward to it!


PRETORIAN (GB) strikes again

Our chestnut Houdini (you should see, how he manages to strip his fully fastened blanket) upgraded his racing status to a Listed level yesterday (14. 8. 2016), winning Kozma Ferenc EV (1.200 m) race at Kincsem Park in Budapest, with Jaroslav LINEK in the saddle.

An easy 6 length win brought PRETORIAN to the class of the top sprinters in the region, so he more than justified his entry to Overdose Dij, which is going to be run at the same track on 4. 9. 2016.

I hope that you will be enjoying the video of the race the same way we enjoyed watching it live.


  Finish close

The new acquisition of my training yard, MATIDIA (GB), racing in the colors of STAR KINGDOM RACING won the most important race for 3 year old fillies in Budapest on 7.8.2016 under brilliant Alberto SANNA.


She was calm throughout the event and was able to fight off her competition easily. The official margin at the end was 2 lengths, but if you see the video, you will see that there was more… She is headed to Austrian Derby on September 4th, where she will meet the boys from her generation.

Parade Parade

Pre canter Pre-canter

Pre canter 2 Under the grandstand

First round First time round

After the race 2 Returning to the caring Zoran

After the race

Winner 2 In the winners enclosure



What was happening in Bratislava on 17.7.2016?

A lot of people are asking (or sending) the above question, so… here is my view of it.

The raceday was full of controversial Steward decisions…

In Cena Mysa (1000m, Kat I) they decided that the protest I filed regarding the run of the winner EFILY (FR), who went from lane 3 to lane 10 and pushed our PRETORIAN (GB) from lane 7 to (at least) lane 12 is not justified – that being even before they decided on the protest. It is very unusual that the award ceremony is happening while an ongoing protest procedure is still on-going, don’t you agree? But that is not the end of it. They fined EFILY’s jockey LUKAŠEK for that kind of ride. So, why would you fine someone if he did not impede anyone? The reasoning of the stewards was that both horses had to “run longer distance”, where the fact that EFILY was in full flight and PRETORIAN was still gaining speed was not important for them. One of the men, who was involved in this controversial “dealing of the justice” opposed to the others that there was just a small distance between EFILY and PRETORIAN at the finish line and at such short margins the breach of the “running in straight line” rule means a lot, but his reasoning did not prevail. I guess we have to accept that we run on foreign territory, what should be accepted by the betting community, trainers and owners as well.

You will find the video of the race here.

Later on it was our jockey, Alberto SANNA, riding VIVA LEA (CZE) in Cena Pat’s Music (2000m, L), who protested, because he got “squeezed” in between two horses and got bumped from both sides several times. The stewards explained that this is OK and if he had no room, he should make room… SANNA followed their instruction and made some room in the Slovak Derby, riding GLOBAL GENTL (GER), and this time he got fined… So even the jockeys should accept that they ride in foreign territories…

The squeezing and pushing VIVA faced in the race and left her with lacerations on her hind legs is very obvious on Bohumil KRIŽAN photo (see photo No. 26).

The rules are the rules and we should respect them. Unfortunately they are not uniform throughout the racing world, but still… if the authorities use the same rules differently several times in one day, then you begin to ask yourself what in fact is allowed and what is not.

According to the Stewards’ decision regarding the run of EFILY was controversial even in the “historical view” of the decisions, accepted and enforced by the people, who should watch over the integrity of Slovak racing. They mention disqualification of GHIMMAMAH in Cena Whisky and demotion of STORMY JAIL in Velka Jarna Cena.

The territorial treatment of foreigners in Bratislava I describe above is not the only instance of the pro-domestic decisions this year. Would you believe that our VALOROUS INFLUENCE (SVK) got “awarded” with a 16 kg raise of his handicap mark for a second place in a Kat III race (usually the horses get from 4 to 6 kilos for a win), putting him just 1 kg below the handicap mark of his brother VAN DAMME (SVK), who won in the same category several times. The excuse for this was that the winning horse had a high flat handicap. OK, you will say, that is the justified position. But why does that not happen with the other horses? Check the horses that were running with our BRUCE FRENKY (FR) that has a high handicap mark due to his placing in Austrian Derby Trial (1700m, L) two years ago. His handicap had no influence whatsoever on the handicap marks of the horses he beat or was placed before them in his races in Bratislava.

It is a pitty that the Stewards in Bratislava operate that way. The track stuff and racing authorities, who are not involved in providing the integrity of the racing, really work hard in keeping the racing alive (what their colleagues in Austria were not able to achieve despite the generous sponsorship of Mr. Stronach), but with such attitude of the “judges” I guess Mr. Prescott will – again – scratch his entries in the future Slovak classic races. Regarding the interference and breaching of the “finish riding in a straight line rule” I would suggest that Bratislava Stewards – instead of being full of arrogance (the respect is easy to achieve from the point of power, much harder from the point of professionalism) – see the footage of GLENEAGLES run in Prix Jean-Luc Legardere. Maybe they will learn something from their French colleagues.