bry­ony frost

Young jockey Bry­ony Frost has kicked off her ca­reer with a bang. She told Mike Drowne how it all be­gan

Racing Ahead - - CONTENTS -

In­ter­view with the new fe­male star of the jump­ing scene

The year 2017 will be one Bry­ony Frost will never for­get.The 22-yearold bagged her first Chel­tenham Fes­ti­val win­ner in March, turned con­di­tional in July and last month landed the pres­ti­gious Badger Ales Tro­phy at Win­can­ton.

Heavy rain looked to have ru­ined Present Man’s chances but Frost gave the seven-year-old a fine ride from the front and drove her mount home strongly to win by a head, 21 years af­ter her fa­ther Jimmy won the race aboard Coome Hill.

Re­flect­ing on the suc­cess, Bry­ony said: “In our life­time not many of those fairy­tale things hap­pen to us but I was very for­tu­nate that it did. To be go­ing in the foot­steps of dad and to be achiev­ing some of the things that he achieved is re­ally cool.

“Some of the kids don’t get to do that and I am,to be given the op­por­tu­nity to do that by Paul and the team and to have a horse like that to sit on, peo­ple say it’s a dream come true but it is,it might sound a bit cheesy but that is the case.”

This may be Bry­ony’s first sea­son as a pro­fes­sional but she proved that she’s as strong as any jockey when win­ning on Present Man, as she had to bat­tle out the fin­ish with Leighton Aspell, one of the most ex­pe­ri­enced jock­eys in the weigh­ing room.

Bry­ony ad­mit­ted: “It was a bit nerver­ack­ing when he came up­sides I have to say, I was think­ing oh any­one but you, but dad has al­ways taught me you can’t lose your cool,rhythm wins races.At the end of the day keep his rhythm, don’t panic, just keep do­ing what you know, keep driv­ing away and if he is good enough he will stay there.”

Bry­ony also landed the Mal­lard­jew­ Novices’ Chase at Chel­tenham’s open meet­ing the following week,which took her sea­son tally to 17.

It wasn’t her first suc­cess at the home of jump rac­ing – she steered home Pacha Du Polder to win the Fox­hunter last sea­son too.

With Bry­ony be­ing the daugh­ter of Jimmy, who won the Grand Na­tional in 1989 and also the Cham­pion Hur­dle in 1991, she was al­ways des­tined to be a jockey and was even hunt­ing by her­self from the age of four.

Bry­ony re­called: “I was hunt­ing on my own be­hind Mike Weir and the Dart­moor hunt be­cause dad couldn’t keep up with me on the lead rein.I re­mem­ber it clear as day he said‘Mike I can’t keep up with her can she fol­low you’ and he turned around and said if she can keep up with me she can come with me.

“I was hunt mad, go­ing across bogs, that’s where my nick­name came from – Bog Rid­ing Bry­ony. That’s what I did be­cause the ponies didn’t sink as bad, so Mike used to chuck me through the bog first so if I sunk he knew he couldn’t go in.”

Bry­ony is also sis­ter to for­mer jump jockey Had­den, who rode for Hen­ri­etta Knight and won the Pertemps Final aboard Buena Vista at the 2010 Chel­tenham Fes­ti­val.

“In the at­tic me and Had­den had an old mat­tress and an old bed frame,with a load of old rugs thrown over it with a sad­dle and a pair of reins. We used to drive the head off it ev­ery night.

“Dad would come up and teach us and say things like‘you want to keep your heel down a bit lower’.He taught us ev­ery­thing we know.

“That was where we started,I can’t even re­mem­ber when I first went in there and started driv­ing the head off it.We called it Woody, our equi­cizer, be­cause it was mainly wood – not the most imag­i­na­tive of kids!

“With ex­pe­ri­ence your style changes. When I first started point­ing I wasn’t very good that’s for sure.With time comes your own style and your own tech­nique and you’ve al­ways got to im­prove be­cause

there’s al­ways some­one com­ing up be­hind you. So my style will keep de­vel­op­ing and hope­fully for the bet­ter.”

De­spite be­ing Paul Ni­cholls’con­di­tional jockey,Frost ad­mit­ted that there was no grand plan of step­ping up into the pro­fes­sional ranks.

She added:“My li­cence had just run out and I got told off be­cause I didn’t tack my horse up quick enough. Paul asked me where the hell had I been.I told him I was sort­ing out my li­cence that had run out. He said ‘but you’re go­ing con­di­tional’.

“I said yes but I’ve got to ride to­mor­row and he told me to turn con­di­tional now. I told him I would if I had his sup­port. He replied ‘of course you have got sup­port — what a stupid ques­tion’. So I was like oh ok!

“That was our con­ver­sa­tion – there was no sit­ting down and no meet­ing. It was a case of Paul just say­ing, of course you’re go­ing to turn con­di­tional you’re do­ing too well not to.

“From the out­set you al­ways dream about hav­ing the op­por­tu­nity to turn pro­fes­sional but you stay am­a­teur be­cause you get more op­por­tu­ni­ties do­ing that. I came to the cross­roads of ei­ther left to stay am­a­teur or right to turn con­di­tional.

“I thought well if I don’t do it now I never will and this is what I want, this is my ca­reer this is what I’ve al­ways dreamed of from be­ing a lit­tle girl. This is me — it’s what I want to do — and if I don’t do it now what’s the point of all the work I’ve put into it? I grabbed it with both hands.”

Un­like her nick­name sug­gests “Bog Rid­ing Bry­ony” is very tal­ented and you are sure to see a lot more of her this sea­son as she is one of the best con­di­tion­als around.

Bry­ony re­cov­ers at Larkhill

Pacha Du Polder

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