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Superstar racehorse Frodon and his jockey Bryony Frost delighted children at Wincanton Primary School last week by paying them a visit during lessons.
The pair have combined to win no fewer than 11 races together and made history at the Cheltenham Festival in 2019 when Frodon carried Bryony to victory in the Ryanair Chase – the first time a female jockey had won a Grade One race over fences at the event.
They also teamed up to win Jump racing’s Christmas highlight – the Grade One King George VI Chase at Kempton Park – on Boxing Day in 2020 and their most recent success together came in the 2022 Badger Beer Handicap Chase at nearby Wincanton Racecourse – a contest they will attempt to win for a second time on Saturday 11th November.
But on Wednesday (October 18th) they swapped the racetrack for the playground, thrilling pupils and teachers alike.
The visit was organised by The Jockey Club - the largest employer in British horseracing which also operates Wincanton Racecourse - alongside RacingToSchool, an educational charity which aims to inspire young minds through the provision of free, interactive and healthy outdoor educational events for schools, staged at a variety of racing venues.
“It’s really exciting, my grandad watches horseracing and it was really cool to look at a horse”, “I loved how he had his rug on’” and “I was surprised by how big he was!” were just some of the reactions during the visit.
Jockey Bryony was equally thrilled to be showing off her equine partner to the youngsters and said: “It’s been absolutely awesome and the kids and Frodon loved it. They were chanting his name and saying you’re going to win!
“Frodon is phenomenal. He loves all the attention and just takes it in his stride. He’s brilliant.
“It doesn’t feel like over four years ago that he won the Ryanair Chase - it feels like it was yesterday and it will always feel like yesterday! We also went to Ireland and won the Champion Chase which was an incredible moment. The King George he won was during COVID so there wasn’t a crowd there, which was a bit of a heartbreak but he still owns the crown. We’ve had some amazing days together.”
At the age of 11 this is set to be Frodon’s final season of racing but he is assured the best of retirements as he will go and live with his regular jockey.
Bryony continued: “When he is ready to retire he will be coming home with me which is great and we’ll be galivanting around the moors somewhere!”
The children watched footage of Frodon’s 2022 Badger Beer Chase victory with Bryony and learnt about racing with former jockey, Rob Bellamy. Rob and Bryony then answered questions from the children in the hall and were incredibly enthusiastic before star of the show Frodon arrived in the school playground where the children had the chance to meet him.
Jack Parkinson, General Manager at Wincanton Racecourse, added: “It was great to be able to go to the heart of the local community and showcase our wonderful sport to a young audience, which hopefully includes some racing fans of the future.
“Our new season at Wincanton is already well underway and we look forward to welcoming a large crowd on Badger Beers Chase Day, which is always one of our busiest days of the year.”
Kay Carswell, Head of School at Wincanton Primary School, commented: “I would like to thank Frodon and Bryony for coming to visit us and The Jockey Club for making this all happen.
“A fantastic time was had by all despite the pouring rain and it was great to be able to offer the children something fun but at the same time also educational and learning about the sport that takes place at the racecourse just five minutes up the road. We’ll all be cheering on Frodon at Wincanton next month.”
Rob Bellamy of RacingToSchool was also present and said: “Racing in Britain still works in Imperial measurements, so we talk a lot about miles and furlongs and obviously the jockeys get weighed in stones and pounds. This is all alien to kids so we teach them how it works and hopefully they go away with a better understanding.
“It’s just wonderful to see so many children with smiles on their faces whilst technically doing some maths.”
Frodon and Bryony Frost will aim to be back in action on Saturday 11th November to make it back-to-back wins in the Badger Beers Handicap Chase at Wincanton. To find out more, visit: https://www.thejockeyclub.co.uk/wincanton/events-tickets/badger-chase-day/