Bryony Frost could be forgiven if she dreamed of Aintree’s Grand National, a race her father won on Little Polveir in 1989, last night after Milansbar, her first ride for Neil King, made nearly all to win the 3½-mile Betfred Classic here.
A week ago, King’s massive chaser went 2½ miles in the Welsh National before unseating his rider but, fitted with blinkers and Frost in the saddle for the first time, he jumped for fun and the 12-1 shot had the race sewn up some way out before coming home 11 lengths clear of Cogry.
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Frost, who rode her first Grade One winner on Boxing Day when Black Corton won the Kauto Star Novices Chase and is riding full of confidence, said: “Neil rang me and said the Welsh National hadn’t gone to plan, he got swallowed up round the first bend and that he has an opinion and he didn’t like it. He jumped and travelled brilliantly today.”
King, who was not at the meeting, said he had earmarked the 11-year-old for the National for ages but that it had taken a long time to get there.
“We had the bug last year and he was one of the worst affected,” he explained. “The year before, he was second in the Midlands National with top weight.
“Aintree’s all I ever dreamed of for him. We fancied him last week but they went hell for leather, swamped him.
“I told Bryony to line up on the outside and let him enjoy himself and, in the blinkers, he jumped off in the bridle.”
In-form trainer Anthony Honeyball enjoyed a televised double with Ms Parfois winning at Warwick and Fountains Windfall, who fell when he appeared to have Black Corton’s measure in the Kauto Star, looking extremely impressive in a handicap chase at Kempton.
He now looks a live contender for the RSA Chase at Cheltenham.
At Wetherby, Richard Johnson rode a 196-1 four-timer. A five-timer looked possible but he finished only second on favourite Westend Story in the concluding race. It took his tally for the season to 129, 20 clear of his nearest pursuer, Harry Skelton, in this year’s Stobart Jump Jockeys Championship.