Bryony Frost has hailed Black Corton’s second place finish in the Galway Plate on Wednesday as one of the best performances of his career.
Last season’s champion conditional jockey ranks the display of the Paul Nicholls-trained gelding on a level with the Grade One victory the pair achieved in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton in 2017.
Although Black Corton, who warmed up for the valuable two-mile-six prize with a spin on the Flat in the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot, had to settle for second best, it was an experience Frost thoroughly enjoyed.
She said: “We all went out there and had the most fantastic time. We knew the odds were stacked against us and the statistics were stacked against him, but he didn’t know that.
“I’d never ridden the track and he had never been on the track, so we asked a lot of him off that weight and that race is one of the toughest handicaps going.
“You’re not on home ground, so you are out of your comfort zone the whole race. My only friend out there was him.
“There is no let up and not an inch of room for a mistake, because it will tell, but it was just brilliant. That race would have to be one of his best in his career.”
Had it not been for a loose horse hampering the pair up the run-in, the race may possibly have had a different outcome, but Frost feels it is impossible to tell if that unwelcome distraction cost them the 177,000 euros first prize.
She added: “A lot of people have asked me if the loose horse cost us the race, but that is an impossible question to answer.
“It didn’t help as we had a lot of weight and that stopped my rhythm going up the hill, but take nothing away from him as he gave me absolutely everything.
“We were beaten by a very good horse that they have big plans for and he was giving him lumps of weight, so off the mark he was on, that was a massive run for him. Everyone was so happy with him. He went out there and really flew the flag for us.
“When Paul gave me that opportunity to ride him in my first ride as a conditional at Worcester, who would have ever said he would have gone on to be the person he has? He is a fairytale to me.”
Having shown his ability to run well off a big weight in a handicap, Frost is convinced he can ply his trade at a higher level back in Britain when he resumes after having a short break.
She added: “I know Paul is going to give him a little break now to allow him to catch up on his mileage travelling to Ireland, as that is the toughest part, not the actual race.
“I wouldn’t say he is incapable of winning another Grade One judged on his performance at Galway. I wouldn’t say he is just a top handicapper, as I don’t believe he is.
“He can carry the weight between his shoulders, but he has won a Grade One – I know people have said a lot of horses fell in that race, but he still won it.”
Black Corton may be set for a short break, but the hard work starts now for his stablemate Frodon, who carried Frost to glory in the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, following his return to the yard after a well-earned summer break.
Frost said: “Frodon is back and he has definitely been eating all the lush grass in the field, as he I think his jean size has definitely gone up a few notches!
“He is like Black Corton in that he thrives on his work, he is that sort of character. He makes you happy and you can be in the worst mood, but when you have spent time with him, you come out smiling.
“He is in the routine, training and getting himself fit. He looks great.”