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Article 5th November 2022 Wincanton

By Graham Clark

Bryony Frost hailed Frodon as ‘incredible’ after the pair wrote the last chapter in their remarkable partnership together when raising the roof at Wincanton this afternoon with a sensational weight carrying performance in the 61st Badger Beer Handicap Chase. Winning owner Paul Vogt added further superlatives, labelling Frodon as “a horse of a lifetime.”

Few winners at the Somerset track will receive a reception like the one the Paul Nicholls-trained 10 year old was granted after grounding his rivals into submission under Frost in the £70,000 feature.

Despite being burdened with a welter weight of 12 stone the Paul Vogt-owned gelding was sent of the 9-4 Favourite to secure the 19th victory of his career, and 11th under his regular rider Frost, and the pair did not disappoint those packed in the stands.

Although having competition for the early lead with 2020 winner El Presente the triple Grade One scorer soon found himself getting into a nice rhythm under Frost, before taking command of affairs up front after the 10th fence.

As the race developed Frodon’s rivals continued to drop away with none, except recent Cheltenham scorer Lord Accord able to mount any realistic challenge on the market leader, entering the home straight for the final time.

While Lord Accord looked a big danger Frodon was not for passing, and after jumping the last like it was the first, he bounded up the run in under Frost much to score by two and a half lengths much to the delight of those in the stands.

Surprisingly Frodon was making just his second appearance at Wincanton. On his only other appearance at his local venue Frodon landed the Grade Two ‘Rising Stars’ on this card six years ago to the day – November 5th 2016.

Having secured Grade One glory aboard Frodon in the 2019 Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, the 2020 Ladbrokes King George VI Chase at Kempton Park and the last year’s Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal, Frost was left in no doubt this victory meant as much as those triumphs.

Frost, said: “When I turned in and he gave me that boot I thought it will have to be something good to get by me. The fences were greasy but the ground staff have done a fantastic job to make it as safe as it was out there.

“Our start was fantastic. Being on the inside in the Ultima we got in an awful lot of trouble so my main instruction from Paul today was to get a clear run. It was fantastic to do it off that weight.

“Season in, season out Paul brings these horses to be timeless in their careers. He is 10 now with the miles under his belt it is phenomenal how he still performs.

“It is great to be a part of this team.

“I felt the most pressure today as it was a home crowd and with the local hero that he is. I’d say a lot of people have come here to see him so to deliver that win is great.

“Turning in he gave me that boot and I was like ‘here you are boy’ and just to be part of his story, and I think for anybody who knows his name, whether it is fiction or fantasy, he makes you believe in being invincible in whatever you do.

“Every race we have gone into we have batted a little bit above our weight so to come here and be the ones everyone is trying to aim at, for once to prove everybody right is just incredible.

“At home his last piece of work was brilliant and he has been squealing and trying to buck me off. He has been his normal self. There was no worries and you can never have a worry when you are riding him.”

Frost was partnering her third Badger Beer Handicap Chase winner after Present Man (2017 & 2018). She is joint second most successful jockey in the race’s history with only Timmy Murphy (five wins) being more successful.

As for triumphant trainer Nicholls, who was winning the race for a record-extending 11th time, he hailed the performance as “amazing” along with describing Frodon as a ‘legend’ of a horse. 

Nicholls said: “It is an amazing performance. He is just a legend of a horse

“He won the Grade Two novice chase here in 2016 as a four year old and in 2022 he is still going like that.

“He looks as well as ever and I kept thinking he is as big as a bull. It was a great performance.

“After he jumped the first three I was confident as he settled and got into a rhythm. It was brilliant.

“Going down the back the last time I thought they will want to be good to go by him. He gets every bit of the trip now. It was fantastic really. When he is right he is right.

“I had a few doubts whether he was quite as good but those older horses until you get them on the course you don’t know. He was fit and well and she gave him a great ride.

“We just knew (coming to the last) he was going to do it as he had his ears pricked and he never stops. It is a special day. It is big for the course, the crowds and the owner. There is no more popular winner you will see for a long time. It was fantastic.

“We spoke a lot about it as it was not an easy decision to come here over Down Royal but we did the right thing.”

Regarding future plans Nicholls confirmed that Frodon will now head straight to the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day which he was made a 20-1 chance for with William Hill.

Nicholls added: “He will go straight to the King George now. It will be a good race and he always goes well there.

“There is no point running him beforehand and we are looking forward to it.”

Like Nicholls winning owner Paul Vogt is looking forward to a return trip to Kempton Park after saluting the latest victory achieved by his ‘horse of a lifetime’.

Vogt said: “She is brilliant and gets the best out of him. I was apprehensive as he is 10 years old and he was carrying 12 stone so it is not easy.

“He is such a popular horse. He is a horse of a lifetime and I’m very lucky to have him. I wasn’t too bad watching it. I was hopeful. I hate it when they are hot favourites and he was very well backed.

“He will go well on Boxing Day I reckon if the ground is right. It was perfect ground for him today.”


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