Frodon defies big weight in Old Roan thriller

Paul Nicholls’ charge was having first run since a wind-op

  • Sunday 28 October
  • News
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Bryony Frost landed another notable success as Frodon gamely won the Monet’s Garden Old Roan Limited Handicap Chase at Aintree.

Paul Nicholls’ chaser, who is still only six, was having his first outing since a wind operation in the summer.

Racing off top weight from a mark of 159, he took up the running with fully half a mile to run but looked a sitting duck at one stage.

Javert, Theo and eventually Cloudy Dream, who had made several jumping errors on the way round, all closed in to challenge.

However, they could not get on terms with Frodon who found plenty for pressure for Frost, who also won a big pot on him at Cheltenham in January.

The 9-2 winner held on by a length and a quarter from Javert with Cloudy Dream third on his first start for Donald McCain.

“To get back on him, come round a track like this, it’s a pleasure,” said Frost.

“That’s not a job to ride horses like him.

“He jumped from fence to fence with me. Paul (Nicholls) said to me earlier ‘Two(mile)-three, good ground, you know he stays, you know he gallops, he’s 100% at home – just have faith in him, and never stop moving forward … use it, put the pressure on out there’.

“Everyone says ‘great ride’ – but (no), it’s ‘great run’.

“You sit there, and he’s got a heart of a lion, and he tries real hard and he keeps going.

“There’s a bit more argy-bargy out there (in handicaps), and you have to stick your elbows out a bit more than in the novice races – and he does exactly that. It was class.

“If you have to look up in the dictionary what ‘tough’ is, you’ll come across Frodon.

“He jumped the cross-fence, I let him fill his lungs, then said ‘Right, chap, if you do gallop and stay this is the time to prove it’. He’s done exactly that.

“He was clever and low at the last, then he got away from it and was half flicking his ears – and I thought ‘Oh no, don’t get caught now – because otherwise, I’m in for a big tell-off’.

“But luckily, he’s game and he put everything into it.”

Frost father, Jimmy, won the Grand National in 1989.

“It means a lot to me, this place,” she said.

“But it’s the track in itself, and the people, they make it one of those places.”

Nicholls assistant Harry Derham said: “He’s a remarkable horse.

“He’s not even that old, but he kind of feels like he’s been around a long time.

“To come here, on his seasonal reappearance off top-weight and put in a display like that is remarkable.

“Bryony’s given him a lovely ride, gets him quite near the front and then leaves him to it. I think they get on well, because she knows what he can do, she believes in him

“He’ll probably go up again after that – so I’m not sure whether he goes for the BetVictor (Gold Cup).

“We might have to go and find some graded races. He was knocking on the door in Grade Ones last year so something like a Peterborough Chase might suit. But he’s just an absolute joy to have.”

Frodon defies big weight in Old Roan thriller
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