October 23, 1955, certainly was a day that is written in gold letters in the history of the Slovak turf and especially in the chronicle, at that time, of the Topoľčianky State Stud Farm. 65 years have passed since the Czechoslovak national anthem was played at the Pardubice racecourse to the first Slovak rider to become the winner of the most difficult continental race, the 66th year of the Great Pardubice Racecourse. The Slovak legend is united by three names: Jozef Čajda, Furioso XIV and Emil Šulgan. But let's start from the beginning.
Furioso XIV was born on 16.10.1948. From the Pohořelice stud farm, this chestnut was assigned to the war destroyed Military Stud Farm Hostouň in Šumava. Along with him, the Ministry of Agriculture included stallions Star Of Hannover III from 30 Gidran XXXIII, Przedswit III from 16 Toborzo and English thoroughbred stallions Derüs by Balbinus from Derüre Born and his son Tulak from mother Toulka, as well as breeding English thoroughbred stallions Horymír, Holweg and Portius. Since 1949, the Ministry of Agriculture has taken over the management of the stud farm from the army in order to produce exceptionally high-quality riding horses for land breeding and the army on the basis of proven Austro-Hungarian horse tribes such as Furioso and Przedswit.
In the fifties, Furioso XIV is assigned to the Topoľčianky State Stud Farm for the purpose of his racing testing. Emil Šulgan takes over as coach.
Emil Šulgan was born on April 3, 1903 in Nitra. The horse public recognized him as one of the most important hippological experts and was called "Mr. Counselor". After graduating from high school, he became the head of training at the Hostouň military stud farm through the military academy in Hranice 1923-25 and completing a higher riding course in Pardubice. He participated in the evacuation of the stud farm to Horné Motešice.
After leaving for the reserve, he worked in Nitra, Topoľčianky and since 1963 in Nový Tekov. The period of his work in Topoľčianky can be considered as very important. He joined the Topoľčianky State Stud Farm on January 7, 1946 as the head of horse training. During his time, the Topoľčiansky riders and their horses achieved a number of sporting successes. Under his leadership, riders such as Pružinský, Hrúzik, Ďuran, Alakša, Haspra, Gregor, Kováč, Kelemen, but also Jozef Čajda grew up. František Hrúzik, our only Olympian and his trainee, remembers him as follows: “He had a huge enthusiasm for racing and sports. Thus began the sports testing and the foundations of sports riding were laid in Topoľčianky”.
Emil Šulgan excelled in pedagogical tact and rich coaching experience. He brought military drill, order and systemism to the training. He trained horses and riders for almost all disciplines of equestrian sport (dressage, parkour, versatility and racing). He and his favourite Lipizzaner stallion Pluto performed the exercises of a Spanish classical riding school. He also worked as the founder of a classic riding school in the stud farm Lipica. Despite the fact that from 1948 to 1951 he worked as the director of the Topoľčianky State Stud Farm, he did not betray his coaching activities. Furioso XIV fell into his eye.
Šulgan entrusted the stallion to the rider Pavel Kováč. He started his racing career. In 1952 he started with him in 7 races, flat and steeplechase. The career looked promising. He won six times and finished second once. From 1953, in addition to Kováč, he also began to nominate the rider Jozef Čajda (March 29, 1919) for the Furioso’s saddle. He joined the Topoľčianky State Stud Farm on January 7, 1951 and worked there until May 31, 1960 as a rider in the Jazdiareň resort. The year 1953 was marked by obstacle races. Out of seven, he won six times and in the last race of the season in Pardubice (Kladrubská cena, steeplechase at 3200 m) he finished with Jozef Čajda in 6th place.
Since 1954, Jozef Čajda has become the only rider of Furioso. At Breziny breeding centre, where replicas of the Great Pardubice jumps are built, systematic preparation for the most difficult test begins. This year Furioso and Jozef Čajda did not find a conqueror.
YEAR 1955 AND THE DAY „D“
The season was opened in Bratislava on Spring steeplechase (4000 m). Here, the pair ended in the second place after a fight for the neck behind a stable colleague Corsican with the rider Absolon. Even at the Grand Autumn Prize in Svätý Jur at 6000 m, Furioso did not win. He finished second behind the thoroughbred Korteš. Coach Emil Šulgan entered the stallion Furioso XIV with Jozef Čajda for the International Racing Meeting in Pardubice. It took place for the next two Sundays. The main race and the highlight of the meeting was the Great Pardubice Steeplechase on October 23, 1955.
Twenty horses entered the start. Nine horses fell on Taxis, one refused to jump (Salvator). Furioso also had a collision in the Great Gardens, but he lost almost nothing. After Havel's jump, he disengaged from his opponents and with a lead of thirteen lengths, he crossed the finish line triumphantly as the winner in the time of 11: 32.1 min. The statement of the race committee was: "detained by thirteen lengths - far - far ....". Furioso appeared on the track in Hubice and Trenčín in 1958, this time in the saddle with Karol Uhrecký, when he finally ended his racing career.
Furioso XIV was included in the breeding on the basis of a successful racing career. The correct name from the zootechnical point of view is for Furioso XIV - Furioso XIV-52, because this stallion was born as the son of the stallion Furioso XIV, in the order as the 52nd descendant, out of the thoroughbred mother Selekta.
He was in Žrebčín Motešice in 1955 as a stallion under the number 422 Furioso XXVII. From his offspring, the mare 661 Furioso XXVII (1957) was included in the breeding of this stud farm. From Motešice he was transferred to the State Stud Farm in Topoľčianky, where he stayed from 1958 to 1965 as a pepinier (tribal stallion) for a warm-blooded herd of mares. He was entered in the studbook in Topoľčianky under the number 104 Furioso XXVII. In Topoľčianky, 6 breeding mares were included in the breeding after this stallion: 51 Palma (1959), 68 Ontario (1961), 82 Jelka (1960), 118 Furioso XXVII-13 (1964), 152 Furioso XXVII-15 (1964) and a mare 164 Furioso-24 (1965). The offspring were used not only in breeding but also in sports. It is interesting that many, despite the political time in which the stallion worked, were sold for foreign exchange, e.g. to Germany.
It can be stated that Furioso XXVII (Furioso XIV) became the father of excellent mothers, unfortunately not the father of stallions. Neither in Motešice nor in Topoľčianky did he leave behind a direct successor, despite the fact that he was a representative of the rare Radios branch of Furioso (the branch after Furioso VIII, 1887), which was used throughout the former Czechoslovakia.
To this day, an honorary panel in the Hall of Fame of the hippological exposition of the National Stud Farm Topoľčianky is dedicated to this great turf victory.
Emil Šulgan remained faithful to horses even after his retirement and passed on his rich experience to riders in JO Hipológ and Žižka Bratislava. After the end of his racing career, Jozef Čajda moved to the Nový Tekov stud farm and later devoted himself to the breeding of warm-blooded horses at the SPTŠ in Zlaté Moravce (Čierna Dolina). On October 23, 1983, he succumbed to an incurable disease, 28 years after he became a racing legend. Unfortunately, he was no longer able to overcome the disease.
- Archív Národného žrebčína „Topoľčianky“, š.p.
- Speciálni zootechnika – Chov koní, 1957, SZN Praha
- Od Fantoma po Peruána – Historie 110 ročníků Velké pardubické, 1874 – 2000, Hubálek J., Nehyba M.
- Z histórie - Jozef Čajda, SVET KONÍ, č. 4/2019, str. 17