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Press Release 19th December 2022 Kempton Park

Owner Paul Vogt insists Frodon faces a tough ask in re-claiming his Ladbrokes King George VI Chase crown, but he admits it would be the ‘icing on the cake’ of his remarkable career if he could strike gold in the Boxing Day feature at Kempton Park. 

With more than £1.1 million in prize-money already banked from his 46 previous starts the popular 10 year old, who is one of three likely runners in the race for trainer Paul Nicholls, will bid to increase his career earnings with a third outing in the prestigious Grade One. 

In 2020 the Nickname gelding produced one of the stories of the season when springing a 20-1 shock in the three-mile festive highlight. However, he could only muster fourth behind Irish raider Tornado Flyer in the defence of his title 12 months ago.

Frodon made a triumphant re-appearance in the 61st Badger Beer Handicap Chase at Wincanton on November 5th before being held in third in the Grade One Betfair Chase at Haydock Park a fortnight later. Vogt believes a return to Kempton Park can put the spring back in his step.

Vogt said: “It is going to be a tough ask as he is taking on some tough horses and his price probably reflects that but he was a 20-1 chance the year that he won it.

“If the ground is right he gets into a good rhythm he will probably run a decent race. 

“It would be a bit optimistic to say that he is going to win but if he can run into the places I would be delighted. 

“That was a great day at Wincanton when he won the Badger Beer as Knappers Hill, who I also jointly own, won the Elite Hurdle as well and you don’t normally get two big winners on the same day.

“We worried about him carrying that weight (12st) as we didn’t know if he was quite as good as he was, but he showed he has got all his old zest and he was fantastic.

“He was well behind Protektorat at Haydock, but he ran into some nice prize money. We didn’t really expect to go up there and win but we thought it was worth running in as the race cut up.

“Kempton suits him quite well and we go there with hope in our hearts. It would be the icing on the cake if he did win this.”

Integral to the success of Frodon has been the relationship he has built up with jockey Bryony Frost, who Vogt hopes will be back in time from a recent spell on the sidelines to be reacquainted with her equine ally. 

Since first partnering Frodon back at Ascot five years ago Frost has registered 11 wins on him including the 2020 King George and further Grade One victories in the 2019 Ryanair Chase at The Cheltenham Festival and last year’s Champion Chase at Down Royal. 

Vogt added: “Sam Twiston-Davies was stable jockey at the time and he rode him early on, then Bryony Frost rode him for the first time at Ascot as Sam was on another one of Paul’s (Ptit Zig).

“Paul said I’ve got this very good girl in the yard that could ride him and the rest is history. She gets on so well with him and I’m so pleased with her and Frodon in what they have done together.

“We would never dream of putting anyone else on the horse. Hopefully she is fit and well to ride him on Boxing Day.

“I spoke to her the other week and she sounded very optimistic. It would seem odd someone else riding him now as they really are a team. She gets on well with him and he seems to really like her. There is no doubt about it she is a damn good jockey.

“Sam Twiston-Davies rode him to win and I’ve no doubt others could but it is such a romantic story between the pair.”

Although now able to reflect with great fondness of many magical moments on the track the 84 year old claims his good fortune is down to the guidance he received from 13-time champion Jump trainer Nicholls in deciding to become involved with Frodon. 

He added: “Paul Nicholls rang me to say that one of his owners was selling up and would I be interested in owning one or a share in one and I said yes.

“I had no idea which one to go for and Paul guided me towards Frodon so I bought half a share in him.

“A couple of years later Ian Fogg decided to go out of racing so I bought his share as well. It was all quite by chance how I came to own Frodon in many ways and I have been very lucky.

“The day he won the Ryanair Chase, Paisley Park won the Stayers’ Hurdle in the space of an hour. It really lit up Cheltenham. When I got him he was rated 139 and he hadn’t been over a fence in Britain.

“I didn’t sound him out as a future champion I just thought he would be a nice horse to have fun with. The way he has come on has been remarkable.

“He was only an average hurdler but Paul said he was always going to be better over fences as he was such a good jumper and he has been proved right.”

When it comes to standout moments Vogt, who has been involved in the shipping industry for 67 years, has selected Frodon’s Ryanair Chase as the pinnacle, however he feels his King George success it might have toppled it in different circumstances.

He added: “Covid-19 restrictions were only just being lifted when he won the King George.

“You were only allowed two people for each horse and it was sad really as the reception he would have got with a normal Boxing Day crowd would have been unbelievable.

“It was great that he won don’t get me wrong but it was simply not the same without the crowd being there. All Bryony was able to do was to wave to one man and his dog.

“I think you would have to rate the Ryanair as his highest win as it was a Grade One at Cheltenham in front of a huge crowd there.

“I think though had there been a crowd at Kempton when he won the King George it would have overtaken it.”

With Frodon set to turn 11 at the start of the year talk of retirement will soon become a serious discussion, but Vogt hopes it is a topic that remains on the backburner for a little while yet.

He added: “He owes us nothing that’s for sure but he has still got a bit of the old zip and zest in him. The breathing operation did him a lot of good in the summer and I think that has helped a lot. 

“I don’t know if this will be his last season. He turns 11 in the New Year but he will tell us when he has had enough and when he does we will retire him.

“If he is not enjoying it we will stop with him but if he is still enjoying things we will crack on next season.”


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