Bryony Frost has made no secret of her affection for Frodon and, not for the first time, the pair exceeded expectations when making all the running to win the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day. Paul Nicholls’ eight-year-old belied odds of 20/1 on that occasion, jumping well at the head of affairs and coming home 2¼ lengths ahead of Waiting Patiently, with defending champion Clan Des Obeaux 6 lengths further back in third place.
Frost, already the first woman to ride a Grade One winner at the Cheltenham Festival, wrote her name into the record books again by becoming the first female jockey to win the King George VI Chase and the most successful female National Hunt jockey in history, with 175 winners. Frodon, too, booked his place in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, for which he is currently 16/1 sixth favourite.
Of course, 3 miles 2½ furlongs around Cheltenham is a much sterner test of stamina and jumping ability than 3 miles around Kempton, but Frodon has an admirable record on the New Course at Prestbury Park, having won the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup, Cotswold Chase and Ryanair Chase in recent seasons. He has won at distances up to 3 miles 1½ furlongs on going ranging from good to heavy so, now a dual Grade One winner, he needs to be taken seriously on his first attempt in the ‘Blue Riband’ event.