Crowds flock in for big day at Warsaw races

Pride of Poland crosses the finishing line to the delight of fans. Kalbar/TFN

Sunday saw the Wielka Warszawska (Great Warsaw) Race at Warsaw’s Służewiec Racecourse, one of the highlights of the equestrian calendar. Like the famed Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, the race attracts thousands of visitors each year, and this year's race was particularly important as it marked the 80th anniversary of the Służewiec course. The winner of the big race was Pride of Poland, a 3-year-old mare ridden by Slovak jockey Michal Abik.

The gala attracted thousands of visitors, and is one of the city’s most important sporting events.Leszek Szymański/PAP

Playing a tune: a man in period costume entertains the crowds.Leszek Szymański/PAP

The Autumn Gala programme of nine races culminated in the Wielka Warszawska.Leszek Szymański/PAP

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Służewiec course. The first race was held there on June 3, just three months before the start of WWII. Before Służewiec opened races were held in Pole Mokotowskie, now a park close to the town's centre.Leszek Szymański/PAP

A winning jockey celebrates victory.Leszek Szymański/PAP

The festival is the highlight of the racing year.Leszek Szymański/PAP

This year's Gala's theme was "The Old Warsaw". One of many attractions for visitors was a competition for the most original dress from the inter-war period.Leszek Szymański/PAP

A woman evokes the spirit of the 1930s.Leszek Szymański/PAP

Some people went the extra mile when it came to clothing.Leszek Szymański/PAP

Hats off: Period clothing was also on sale.Kalbar/TFN

And they’re off: the 11 horses in the big race jostle for places.Leszek Szymański/PAP

Winner Michal Abik punches the air in triumph.Leszek Szymański/PAP

Time to get the party started. The winning team celebrate.Leszek Szymański/PAP

The 3-year-old mare takes pride of place.Leszek Szymański/PAP