Racing: Taxis claims eight as activists attack

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The Independent Online
A DEMONSTRATION by animal-rights activists delayed the start of yesterday's Velka Pardubicka Steeplechase in Pardubice, Czechoslovakia, for half an hour. The race is generally considered to be the most gruelling in the world, writes Greg Wood.

Police were involved in scuffles with about 100 protestors who repeatedly attempted to occupy the area around the infamous Taxis fence, five and a half feet high with a ditch on the landing side 13 feet wide. When the race finally got underway, the fence fully lived up to its reputation, claiming eight of the 15 starters including the favourite, Zeleznik, four times the winner of the Pardubicka, and Cortez, the mount of Marcus Armytage. The eventual winner, the locally trained Quirinus, was one of five finishers, a group which also included the sole British-trained challenger, Robert Crosby's Boreen King, in fourth.

A less daunting series of obstacles faced the field for the Breeders' Cup Chase on Saturday evening. Britain's representative, Oliver Sherwood's Young Pokey, could finish only eighth of nine behind Highland Bud, who repeated his 1989 success in the hands of Richard Dunwoody.

Pointers to the value of Arazi's winning form in last weekend's Prix du Rond Point were offered in both Italy and Germany. John Dunlop's Alhijaz, third to the renascent French star at Longchamp, ran out the easy winner of the Group One Premio Vittorio di Capua in Milan, while Lucky Lindy, fourth in Paris, landed the Grosser Preis Von Dusseldorf.

Arazi will be joined at the Breeders' Cup meeting by John Gosden's Wolfhound, who took the day's main race in France, the Group One Prix de la Foret. The colt will contest the Sprint event in Florida on 31 October.