Due to travel restrictions related to the coronavirus epidemic the foreign jockeys competing in the 13th National Gallop (Nemzeti Vágta) will be residents of Hungary, organisers told MTI on Tuesday.
The races will be held at Budapest’s Heroes’ Square on a track specially built for the purpose, on Saturday and Sunday.
The 72 participants riding horses from the Bábolna National Horse Farm will represent Croatia, Slovakia, Romania, Mexico, India, Mongolia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Serbia and Hungary.
The races and accompanying programmes will be broadcast live by public Duna Television.
What’s the National Gallop?
According to the official page Vagta.hu, the National Gallop is the grandest of festivals on the grandest of scales. Organized for the 12th time since its inception in 2008, we can still call the National Gallop a rather new Hungarian tradition – or should we say, a monumental reinvention of history and tradition.
Just imagine. Spacious and awe-inspiring Heroes’ Square, transformed into a racetrack with 6,200 square meters’ worth of special equine-friendly sand. Grandstands in front of the two museums that flank the square, the biggest screens you’ve ever seen broadcasting the action, flags flying – the excitement will be palpable… And they’re off! Young jockeys, modern-day hussars on horseback, tear around the track. Hooves are pounding, dirt is flying, the crowd is cheering. Again and again, since as many as 250 horses and riders will compete for the 11.6-million-forint cash prize, a glittering sword, and national glory. Prepare for a particularly exciting event this year, as there will also be mock horseback battles, amazing archers shooting arrows on gallop- ing horses and even race carriage-driving! The carriages that’ll be competing have been created especially for this racetrack. They may have a vintage look but they feature the latest technology inside, so get ready for a rough ride! Imagine Ben Hur in Formula One. The chariot race is a truly breath-taking experience, which required the competitors to undergo an exhausting preparation and training.