It is hard to imagine the smile on the face of Bryony Frost becoming any bigger – but a groundbreaking victory aboard Frodon in the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup could just make that happen.
Since bursting on to the scene with victory aboard Pacha Du Polder in the 2017 Foxhunter Chase at the Festival, the 23-year-old has established herself as a firm favourite among racing fans of all ages, through her enthusiasm and passion for the sport, not to mention ability.
Having given her supporters plenty to cheer this season already aboard the seven-year-old, Frost hopes her trusty ally can raise his game once again by helping her write her name in the annals of the Turf by becoming the first female rider to triumph in the Gold Cup.
She said: “To try to describe the feeling of what it would mean, I can’t tell you, as I don’t know – but what I can say is that I know my horse Frodon is going to give me 110 per cent.
“Paul (Nicholls, trainer) and the team at home will have him in the best health, both mentally and physically, and my owner (Paul Vogt) will be right there with us as they have the confidence in me and Frodon.
“We are at our favourite track and we will go and do what we can, and whatever will be, will be. If I’ve got to ask him the biggest question of his career in the Gold Cup then I’m pleased that it’s at his favourite track.”
Although the Nicholls-trained gelding – who also holds an entry in the Ryanair Chase – has yet to race over the extended three-and-a-quarter-mile trip, he showed in January that it should be within reach after claiming the Cotswold Chase at the track over a furlong shorter.
Frost added: “If we go for the Gold Cup we are going again into unknown territory, like we were on trials day.
“He jumped the last two that day with a lot of energy and the way Elegant Escape came to us, the speed he was going you would have expected him to have gone by.
“He was just getting a bit lonely in front and when Elegant Escape joined his flank he felt the company and drew out again.
“We needed to make that a good trial, so we didn’t want to ride him any differently – we rode him the same way he loves to be ridden and to make sure we are making it a true test.
“I believe he saw it out nicely and our confidence would be high to see it out again, I’d have no worries about it.”
Being able to get the best out of any racehorse requires both an owner and trainer having maximum trust in their jockey – something which Frost, daughter of Grand National-winning rider Jimmy Frost, will be eternally thankful to Vogt and Ditcheat handler Nicholls for.
She added: “To say I’ve got a horse like Frodon and to say he is eligible to run in a grade of race like the Gold Cup is incredible, but to have an owner like Mr Vogt backing me, and Paul Nicholls, it is a really cool thing to have.
“Their loyalty is beyond words. After losing my claim earlier this season I could have lost the ride on him and that would have been heartbreaking. I don’t think I would have been able to cope with that.
“They have stuck with me to keep the partnership there – that loyalty doesn’t come along often and is very rare.
“I will be forever thankful to them for sticking with me at that point. With that decision hopefully we can keep that partnership strong and we can continue moving forward.
“In my opinion I’m with the best team in the country. Paul is an expert with the horses and he has a magnificent team behind him and the horses are strong. Pyramids build high when the base is strong.”
It goes without saying that victory in the Gold Cup would elevate Frost’s career to another level, but while it would give her significant personal gain she is fully appreciative of both the horses and people that have helped her reach such a position.
She said: “My job the way I see it is to go out there and improve my horse, whether they be a 0-100 horse or a Grade One horse.
“I’ve been lucky enough to find a calibre of horse like Frodon, Black Corton, Present Man and Milansbar, and if that means I then have an amazing career then great.
“I’m very lucky that I have a lot of very wise people behind me, as if you haven’t got the support behind you, you can’t get to the top of the mountain.”