FROST MAKES HISTORY AS FRODON TAKES RYANAIR
Bryony Frost returned to a huge reception after making Cheltenham Festival history as the first female rider ever to win a top-level race at the meeting on her great pal Frodon (9/2) in what looked the hottest G1 Ryanair Chase in years.
Cheltenham specialist Frodon forced the pace from the start but looked in trouble when headed by Aso (33/1) two out. However the pair found extra reserves from somewhere and forced their way ahead again on the run-in, winning by a length and a quarter.
Frost stood up in the saddle and pointed proudly to Frodon with both hands as she returned to the winner's enclosure, where she was given an emotional welcome from the horse's connections and from her father Jimmy, who numbered a Champion Hurdle win on Morley Street among three Festival wins, her mother Nikki, and her brother Hadden, who was also a Festival winner and had travelled from the USA for the meeting.
Wiping away tears she said: "Frodon has got his day. He is Pegasus, he has wings, and he is the most incredible battler. He travelled and by God he jumps. When he got overtaken two out, most horses would quit, but he grabbed me by the hands and said 'don't you dare give up, don't you dare not send me into the last, I want this more than you, now come on!'
"He is the perfection of determination. Look at what he has done there and tell me he does not love racing. He is unbelievable. The dream he has just made come true for me is just incredible. He deserves every single pat, carrot and polo. This is his day."
She added: "What can I say about that. Honestly out there we were just in synch. Literally pour heartbeats were probably together, and every time I needed him to come up a bit longer and take a bit more of a chance with a fence, just to keep him there for me, just to give him those moments and have those few breathers he was brave.
"We had to be brave. Every time he's won, he's won by being the bravest. He grabs a hold and he tells you to give it to him. Down to the last we were beat. Two out he was headed and that horse (Aso) was going better than us for a minute, but he would not believe it.
"He would not lie down. It's a lesson for us. Sometimes you might go down but you've got to get up and get going again, and at the last he was just magic. Then when he got to the front he did his usual and just looked up at the crowd and made sure he took it in. Just like I did.
"It was just incredible. I can't explain how much I love that horse."
THE SPORT OF QUEENS - FRODON AND FROST MAKE HISTORY
Bryony Frost made sporting history at Cheltenham this afternoon by becoming the first woman to ride a G1 winner at the The Festival™ presented by Magners after steering 9/2 shot Frodon to victory in the £350,000 Ryanair Chase.
Frost and Frodon, trained by Paul Nicholls, made all of the running in the two miles and five-furlong G1 event and showed grit, tenacity and toughness to fend off the sustained challenge of Aso (33/1) up the punishing Cheltenham hill to record a thrilling length and a quarter success, with the pair receiving a thunderous reception in the winner's enclosure.
Frost and the seven-year-old of Nickname have become one of Jump racing's great double-acts and this was their fourth victory in five starts this term, with three of those successes coming at the Home of Jump Racing.
Ditcheat handler Nicholls was recording his third victory in the Ryanair Chase following the wins of Thisthatandtoher (2005) and Taranis (2007), thereby becoming the winning-most trainer in the history of the G1 event.
He was also registering his 45th victory at The Festival overall and second win of the week after Topofthegame captured yesterday's G1 RSA Insurance Novices' Chase.
The winning trainer said: "That is one of the best days ever. Frodon is a brilliant horse.
"That was awesome - I lost my voice a bit! It hasn't been easy to get him right and I knew he had to be 120 per cent.
"In the middle of last week, me and Clifford felt that we were a gallop short, so we took him to Wincanton on Friday and let him have a mile and a half with Pic D'Orhy, just to put the finishing touches to him.
"I said to Bryony that there was no point getting in behind - make all, keep saving a fraction and use that kick just once from the back of the last. That was brilliant.
"He has massively improved, like a lot of the young horses this year, and we worked out how to get him at his very best today. It's a brilliant, brilliant team effort.
"The decision to go for this race wasn't difficult in the end with the ground. The good thing is, to win this race, you need something that stays three miles and he got the three. That was perfect and we might look at something different next year.
"Bryony deserves it, everyone in the team deserves it and, most of all, the horse deserves it. He is just the most amazing horse you ever want to train. He is not very big and it is a very, very special day."
DEUTSCH AND WILLIAMS 'THRILLED' WITH ASO
Charlie Deutsch was within touching distance of a first victory at The Festival™ presented by Magners - his ride, Aso, actually headed the eventual winner, Frodon, but Frodon fought back under Bryony Frost to take the G1 £350,000 Ryanair Chase.
Nine-year-old Aso, trained by Venetia Williams, finished a length and a quarter behind Frodon at odds of 33/1.
Deutsch said: "After the last I did think I had won it. I'm just frustrated, really, because we'd passed Frodon and he's done nothing wrong, he's run to the line. He's run a brilliant race.
"We've come second to Frodon before, which is a bit frustrating, but his jumping was superb. He's got so much ability. But I'm pleased for Bryony.
"I feel it all went how I wanted it to go; I was a bit trapped down the inner but it didn't matter because we were flat out all the way and we haven't missed a fence."
Williams said: "We are just so thrilled with the horse. He jumped magnificently and it was a really strong race this year. I spent all last week trying to suggest the owners might like to run Frodon in the Gold Cup instead!"
ROAD TO THIRD
Road To Respect, a 9/2 chance, was third home in the G1 Ryanair Chase and pleased connections with his run, despite their disappointment at their placing.
Trainer Noel Meade, said: "He ran well. We are obviously disappointed, without any doubt.
"He ran well but made a mistake three out which didn't help. I can't say that it made the difference but it put us under pressure earlier than I thought.
"Other than that everything went reasonably well.
"I haven't given it a lot of thought but Liverpool might be a possibility and there is a two and a half-mile race at Fairyhouse which could be a possibility and Punchestown is a possibility.
"We will see how he is when we get home."
Sean Flanagan, jockey, added: "We have gone a nice consistent gallop, I have travelled and jumped really well.
"I thought I was holding every chance when I made a shuddering mistake at the third last, and it took me a while to get back going. I was only beaten a short distance at the end. I am not saying I would have won, but it was definitely a fairly big mistake.
"He has run a blinder and I am really happy with him."
2:50pm Ryanair Chase (Registered as the Festival Trophy) (Grade 1) 2m 4f 184y £350,000
1 Frodon (FR) ts 7 11 10 Paul Nicholls Paul Vogt Bryony Frost 9/2
2 Aso (FR) 9 11 10 Venetia Williams The Bellamy Partnership Charlie Deutsch 33/1
3 Road To Respect (IRE) 8 11 10 Noel Meade IRE Gigginstown House Stud Sean Flanagan 9/2
4 Monalee (IRE) 8 11 10 Henry de Bromhead IRE Barry Maloney Rachael Blackmore 5/1
5 Un de Sceaux (FR) 11 11 10 Willie Mullins IRE Edward O'Connell Paul Townend 5/1
6 Coney Island (IRE) ts 8 11 10 Eddie Harty IRE J P McManus Mark Walsh 25/1
7 Balko des Flos (FR) 8 11 10 Henry de Bromhead IRE Gigginstown House Stud Denis O'Regan 16/1
8 Footpad (FR) 7 11 10 Willie Mullins IRE Simon Munir/Isaac Souede Ruby Walsh 7/2 Fav
PU Charbel (IRE) ts, p 8 11 10 Kim Bailey Mrs Julie Martin and David R. Martin David Bass 40/1
PU Sub Lieutenant (IRE) ts, p 10 11 10 Henry de Bromhead IRE Gigginstown House Stud J. J. Slevin 66/1
PU Terrefort (FR) 6 11 10 Nicky Henderson Simon Munir & Isaac Souede Daryl Jacob 20/1
PU The Storyteller (IRE) 8 11 10 Gordon Elliott IRE Pat Sloan Davy Russell 20/1
Distances: 1¼, 1¾, 2¼, 3¼, 5, 9, 3½
Time: 5m 09.59s
Breeder: Philippe Gasdoue
Breeding: 7 b g Nickname (FR) - Miss Country (FR) (Country Reel (USA))
Tote Win: £4.80 Places: £1.70; £7.00; £1.70
45th win at The Festival for Paul Nicholls
2nd win at The Festival for Bryony Frost
Bryony Frost becomes first female jockey to win a Grade One contest at The Festival
Paul Nicholls is now the outright most successful trainer in the race with three wins - Thisthatandtother (2005), Taranis (2007) & Frodon (2019)
Frodon has now won five times at Cheltenham, with all his victories coming on the New Course
Female Jockeys at The Festival
Bryony Frost's victory on Frodon in the G1 Ryanair Chase this afternoon is the most high-profile victory by a female rider at The Festival and the first in a Grade One race at the meeting.
She said: "Frodon has got his day. He is Pegasus, he has wings, and he is the most incredible battler. He travelled and by God he jumps.
"When he got overtaken two out, most horses would quit, but he grabbed me by the hands and said 'don't you dare give up, don't you dare not send me into the last, I want this more than you, now come on!'
"He is the perfection of determination. Look at what he has done there and tell me he does not love racing. He is unbelievable.
"The dream he has just made come true for me is just incredible. He deserves every single pat, carrot and polo. This is his day."
It was her second win at The Festival, following on Pacha Du Polder's victory in the 2017 St James's Place Foxhunter Chase when she was an amateur rider.
Rachael Blackmore, another professional jockey and second in the Irish Jump jockeys' championship, was the first female rider to succeed at The Festival 2019, partnering A Plus Tard to win the Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase on Tuesday.
2018 was the best year yet for female jockeys at The Festival, with four victories, each provided by a different rider - with Lizzie Kelly becoming the first professional female jockey to triumph, followed by Bridget Andrews, while amateurs Harriet Tucker and Katie Walsh, who retired from race riding the following month, also enjoyed memorable victories.
Another leading Irish amateur, Nina Carberry, who has the best record of any female rider at The Festival with seven wins, also stepped back from race riding in April, 2018.
Overall: 15 winning female jockeys, with 25 winners between them
First: Miss Caroline Beasley - Eliogarty, 1983 Foxhunter Chase.
First professional rider: Lizzie Kelly - Coo Star Sivola, 2018 Ultima Handicap Chase.
Most successful: Ms Nina Carberry, 7 winners.
First Grade One winner - Bryony Frost - Frodon - 2019 Ryanair Chase
Best race: St James's Place Foxhunter Chase - 2018 Miss Harriet Tucker; 2017 Miss Bryony Frost; 2016 & 2015 Ms Nina Carberry; 2004 Miss Rilly Goschen; 2002 Mrs Fiona Needham; 1995 Miss Polly Curling; 1989 Miss Katie Rimell; 1983 Miss Caroline Beasley.
Frost, Bryony (2 wins)
St James's Place Foxhunter Chase: 2017 Pacha Du Polder (when riding as an amateur)
Ryanair Chase: 2019 Frodon