Frodon and Bryony Frost put themselves back in the winner’s enclosure for the first time since the famous day at the last Cheltenham Festival, pulling off a battling success in the Silviniaco Conti Chase. The popular pair may have one more outing before a return to the Festival in March, when their target could be the Gold Cup.
It has been a slightly disappointing winter for both but there have been excuses for defeats at Aintree (too much weight in a handicap) and Haydock (too much of a slog against specialist three-milers). This time, Frodon had a lot more going for him, although he did not help his cause by repeatedly jumping left at a circuit that bends to the right.
“Brilliant,” was Frost’s verdict. “Textbook, wasn’t he? Yes, OK, he was jumping slightly out all the time. That was a little bit worrying while you’re out there, thinking, when he gets tired, will that happen?
“But Paul [Nicholls] has got him so fit and so ready, you can ride him with your heart on your sleeve. His jumping was amazing. Home bend, I’ve just picked him up and given him a click and he’s come right underneath me. And I thought, well, they’re going to have to really stretch to get by me, especially how hard he fights. Ah, just magic.
“He’s 100% right now. People are quick to doubt but you can never doubt team members, especially someone like him.”
Frost expressed the hope that Nicholls was able to watch the race from his holiday in Barbados. The trainer’s assistant, Harry Derham, said Frodon was likely to run in next month’s Denman Chase at Newbury, after which a decision will be made as to whether the horse lines up in the Gold Cup or tries to repeat last year’s win in the shorter Ryanair.