The 84th Grand National Prize race
The exciting equestrian sport of trotting has a big weekend coming up in Palma this Saturday and Sunday, 20th and 21st May. The Hippodrome of Son Pardo hosts the two day event which culminates in the running of the 84th Gran Premi Nacional of trotting, a race which has been held annually without fail since 1934 and even took place during the strife of the Civil War.
The race is open only to 3 year-old mares and stallions born and bred in Spain and carries prizes of €100,000! Only a few things have changed over the 84 years of the National's history, the course has got slightly shorter and the horses have become much quicker, the time to run 1 km has reduced by 37.1 seconds!
For me the sport of trotting – the horse pulling a small trap with a driver – is much more interesting than traditional horse racing because you can actually see what is happening on the small oval track for the duration of the whole race. You can actually see the tactics and skills of the drivers as they jockey for position to win the race.
During the weekend festival, you can actually see 26 trotting races for all levels so there's plenty of entertainment horsey style. The races start on Saturday at 16:00 and on Sunday the day starts at 10:00 with fun for all the family; pony rides, bouncy castles, craft fair, market and falconry. There are races at 10:30 and then again at 16:00. The 'Grand Nash' itself starts at 18.05 precisely and will as always be an exciting, fiercely contested competition.
Why not take a look. Son Pardo is really easy to get to just on the outskirts of Palma and has loads of parking.