It’s hard not to watch Frodon and jockey Bryony Frost without raising a smile. The pair offer a unique bond between horse and rider, which manifests more clearly than perhaps any partnership in horse racing’s recent history. And it’s a combination which is not only endearing to watch, but massively successful. The latest feather in the cap of Frost and her horse was victory in the King George VI Chase in December, one of the showpiece occasions on the jump racing calendar.
Frodon was a 20/1 shot going into the race, but proved those odds wrong as he led from the front throughout, holding off the advances of the more heavily fancied Waiting Patiently, ridden by Brian Hughes. The joy was clear to see on Frost’s face in the aftermath of this impressive triumph, and once again the 25-year-old was glowing with praise for her loyal companion.
“I have had the absolute best time going round there on him,” she said. “He has just smashed everyone’s expectations. I don’t argue with him too much as he is his own personality. I cannot stress how much this horse means to me – he is my life. You dream as a little girl to ride a horse like this.”
Those dreams have come true for Frost, and they’ve arrived hand-in-hand with the kind of success that every jockey craves. While she perhaps isn’t the most consistent rider on the circuit, her determination and steel in the saddle have seen her overcome the odds on many occasions, not least on Boxing Day. In winning the King George VI Chase, Frost became the first female jockey to ever triumph in the Kempton race, but she’ll never be one to take sole credit for her performances – her close bond with Frodon means that the pair share equal parts in every triumph.
Trainer Paul Nicholls was also quick to heap praise on Frodon, revelling in his winning end to 2020 and what will hopefully be the harbinger of another successful year for the trainer.
“It’s amazing – although obviously he’s a very good horse on his day,” Nicholls said. “He loves it round here, and I said to Bryony: ‘Just go as quick as you can, keep galloping and sail on – you know he’s tough and brave.’ You’ve just seen today what a remarkable horse he is. He never knows when he’s beaten.”
It’s that fighting quality that Nicholls and Frost will be hoping to take into the Cheltenham Festival, which is looming large on the horizon once more, and Frodon is among the contenders for the Gold Cup according to the Cheltenham betting. Last year there was disappointment for the pairing, with a disappointing fourth-place finish in the Ryanair Chase, and this year it will be hoped that Frodon can produce the goods at Cheltenham to match his impressive triumph in the King George.
Indeed, it’s possible that Nicholls will fancy Frodon’s chances in the Gold Cup, given that he has proved he can mix it with the best. Winning such a prestigious race would be a massive challenge for Frost and her trusty companion, but given the nature of their victory at Kempton, it would be no surprise to see a beaming Frost heaping adulation on Frodon once again in the aftermath of Cheltenham’s day four showpiece.