Fab­u­lous Frodon puts heat in Frost’s win­ter

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Sport - - RACING - MAR­CUS ARMYTAGE

BRYONY FROST lit up a raw win­ter’s af­ter­noon when she guided Frodon to what may turn out to be one of the best weight-car­ry­ing per­for­mances of the sea­son in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Chel­tenham yes­ter­day.

Lead­ing nearly all the way and this time dic­tat­ing terms to Baron Alco, which had beaten him last month in the Betvic­tor Gold Cup, Frodon — with 11st 12lb on board — put his ri­vals un­der pres­sure with a su­perb ex­hi­bi­tion of jump­ing and the 7/1 shot sealed his sec­ond vic­tory in this race with an­other ex­u­ber­ant leap at the sec­ond last.

Cepage stayed on up the hill to nar­row the gap to a length and a quar­ter but there were 15 lengths back to last year’s win­ner Gui­tar Pete, while Baron Alco kept on for fourth af­ter fi­nally be­ing cracked by Frodon’s tac­tics at the top of the hill where Mr Medic — the win­ner’s big­gest threat at the time — ploughed through the fourth last.

Horses cer­tainly jump for Frost, 23, and her post-race de­brief is al­ways en­ter­tain­ing. “He’s a com­plete plea­sure to ride,” she said. “I’ve got to thank the own­ers and Paul [Nicholls] for keep­ing me on him in the Betvic­tor when I lost my claim. That was a huge con­fi­dence booster for me and I wanted to give him the suc­cess he de­served af­ter fin­ish­ing sec­ond there.

“Ev­ery time you get to a fence you feel his heart skip and he’s think­ing, ‘I got that one, I am the boss aren’t I?’ And I go, ‘Yes, you are the boss, Frodon’. Win­ning a race like that you feel re­lief, ex­cite­ment. And proud, that’s the one you feel the most.”

Frodon is still only six and won this race as a four-year-old but he will step back out of hand­i­caps at this sea­son’s Fes­ti­val to run in the Ryanair Chase. “I just felt he was stay­ing on strongly at the end of the Betvic­tor so told Bryony not to be afraid of putting Baron Alco un­der pres­sure,” said Nicholls. “We’ll train him for the Ryanair and work back­wards.”

The Uni­bet In­ter­na­tional Hur­dle of­fered sev­eral horses a chance of redemp­tion and it was Brain Power, back af­ter a mixed sea­son chas­ing, which took it. He hung on to win by a length and three quar­ters from Sil­ver Streak.

“It was to­tally his owner Michael Buck­ley’s call to send him back over hur­dles, so well done to him,” said trainer Nicky Henderson.

The New One, go­ing for a record fourth win in the race and the win­ner of 20 of his 40 starts, was pulled up at the last and re­tired by Nigel Twis­ton-Davies. “Where do I find an­other like him?” asked the trainer emo­tion­ally.

Aidan Cole­man was the head waiter at Don­caster’s pre-Christ­mas meet­ing as he de­liv­ered a last-gasp dou­ble on Equus Amadeus and O O Seven. Nei­ther horse was in front at the fi­nal ob­sta­cle, but both were pro­duced with pre­ci­sion to pro­vide cheer for ar­dent race­go­ers on a chilly Town Moor.

Go Con­quer looked all over the win­ner as he took the last fence in the con­clud­ing bet365 Hand­i­cap Chase, but Cole­man came knock­ing on the Nicky Henderson-trained O O Seven (11/8 favourite), which hit the front 50 yards from home to snatch the ver­dict by half a length.

“I knew I’d fin­ish. He got a bit out­paced up Rose Hill and from then it’s one of those tracks that once you keep gal­lop­ing, you’ve got a chance,” said Cole­man.

Bryony Frost and Frodon clear the last to win The Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Chel­tenham

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