Paul Nicholls confirms Frodon going for Gold with Bryony Frost

‘Bryony and Frodon will be great for the Festival whatever happens’

  • Sunday 27 January
  • News
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Paul Nicholls feels Frodon will give Bryony Frost a great chance of being placed in the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Frost has struck up a fantastic partnership with the seven-year-old, who continued his rapid progression this season when winning over just short of the Gold Cup trip in the Cotswold Chase on Saturday.

Bookmakers feel Frodon would have a better chance in the shorter Ryanair Chase and he is joint second-favourite for that with the firms who offer non-runner no-bet – but Nicholls has confirmed that unless the ground is testing he will be going for gold.

Hailing Frost’s talents in the saddle, Nicholls said: “She clicks on certain horses, particularly Frodon and Black Corton, the smaller types.

“She sits in behind them, not unlike Ruby (Walsh) used to do, and they jump and race enthusiastically for her, she forges a good partnership with those.

“It’s good for racing, it’s good for her, it’s good for everybody really and Bryony and Frodon will be great for the Festival whatever happens.

“I don’t think I’ve trained a better jumper (of a fence) because he’s so consistent and that helps him – he loves what he’s doing and he’s progressive.”

While there has already been plenty of debate over which race will suit Frodon the best in March, Nicholls is in no doubt.

He told Sky Sports Racing: “The horse deserves to run in the Gold Cup.

“Also, what you’ve got to remember is he’s owned by Paul Vogt, who is 80 and has owned horses for years and years and even had horses with Fred Rimell – people like him want horses to run in the Gold Cup and now he’s got one who can, so why not.

“How can you say he won’t say the trip? I don’t train horses to win the Gold Cup in the middle of January, he had a break after his last run, he will improve massively (for Saturday).

“I was a bit worried he looked big and well in the paddock, he hadn’t been away for a gallop and hadn’t done that much work. He will improve and there are lots of little things tactically we can improve.”

Nicholls went on: “He always idles a little in front after the last but believe you me, if the ground is decent on the last day, which it often is, he’ll run a big race. I’m not saying he’s going to go and win or anything, but he’ll run a big race.

“He ran in two Grade Ones last year over two-miles-five and he just hasn’t quite got the speed to dominate in those races – over three miles against slower horses, he can.

“Native River is not a quick horse, he’s an out-and-out stayer, Frodon will happily gallop alongside him. Might Bite tried it and finished second, if Frodon finished second in a Gold Cup we’d be thrilled.

“I know him better than most and a Ryanair on quick ground might not suit him. If it was very testing ground – it’s unlikely, but if it was – we have the choice, but speaking to Mr Vogt this (Sunday) morning he’d love to have a runner in the Gold Cup so that’s probably where we are going to go.”

In a warning to his rivals the former champion trainer even thinks there is more to come from Frodon.

He said: “He’s only young, there’s improvement to come is my belief, I think we can get him fitter, we can improve tactically. I’ve had a chat with Bryony and Jimmy (Frost, Grand National-winning father), we watched the race back and she kicked turning in and went clear, but in the Gold Cup you hold on a little longer.

“We’re talking about the Gold Cup, it’s the best horses, the best jockeys, the best of everything, but he deserves to take his chance and to say he doesn’t stay when he’s won over the Gold Cup trip bar a few yards is rubbish – he’ll be fine.”

However, as much as Nicholls is keen on Frodon’s chance he admitted if forced to pick between him and stablemate Clan Des Obeaux, he would go with the latter.

He said: “Clan Des Obeaux worked well (on Saturday) and will go to the Denman Chase, so we’re looking forward to that.

“He’s a King George winner, he’s progressive as well. If you asked Harry Cobden (stable jockey) who he’d ride I think he’d say Clan Des Obeaux and I think I’d say the same.”

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