Matchbook Ambassador Bryony Frost reflects on a wonderful weekend just gone highlighted by her win on Frodon in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup.
It was unbelievable to win the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday on Frodon. He’s such a warrior. He always gives his all.
He deserved every bit of it. He was so brave the last time he had been there. So to be able to go one better on Saturday was brilliant. I had to do right by him, I had to try to make sure that his determination and bravery would be rewarded.
His jumping was unbelievable.
Every time he got a fence, he said, right, I got that one. I’m the boss. He didn’t miss one.
At the last fence on the first circuit, I was thinking that we needed to jump it well so that we could be a half a length up on Baron Alco going into the bend in front of the stands, so that I could give him a little bit of a breather and we could still keep the inside and the lead. And he did. He jumped right out of my hands.
Good boy, I said to him. Now we can take a second. Take a little bit of a break.
He is maturing all the time. He is only six. He is starting to listen to me more and more.
He’s starting to come back a little when I ask him to. Take a breather. Last year, he was a little bit more headstrong, and he didn’t allow himself too much time in a race to take a break.
But I am getting to know him a little better all the time, and he is getting to know me a little better. We are getting to understand each other better.
I am so grateful to Paul and the owners, Mr and Mrs Vogt, for putting me up. For keeping the faith in me.
You couldn’t have blamed them if they had wanted to claim off him, off his big weight. He had 11st 12lb to carry, and you would have understood if they had wanted to use a claiming rider to reduce that burden. But they stuck with me, and I can’t thank them enough for that.
To have people like that around you, to have the faith in you to put you up. That’s like gold. I wouldn’t be the jockey that I am today if I didn’t have people like that to support me. And my family and my friends. It’s a team game. Jockeys can’t do it by themselves, they need to have a team around them. And I am so lucky to have the team around me that I have.
This Was As Good As It Gets
It was a massive day. I was so proud of the horse. I know how much he has given me. He doesn’t have to give me all that he gives me, but he does anyway. He puts everything into it. He deserved every pat that he got, every apple that he gets. He deserves it all.
It was a bitterly cold and wet day. Even walking out onto the course down the chute, the wind there. You had to put your head down.
When we went around the turn at the top of the course with about two miles still to run, before we got back onto the main racecourse, coming to the first fence up the straight, there was a gust of wind there that could have blown you over. You just had to lean into it. Frodon just put his head down and galloped into it.
It’s not easy to run in that wind, it’s not easy to breathe. You need a very brave horse to face into it.
He believes that he can, and he does, and his engine is getting better. I’m beginning to learn his stride, what he can do and what he can’t do, what I can ask him to do.
But it was some feeling.
You’re at one with your horse. That’s as good as it gets in my world. It’s like you’re climbing a mountain, you put everything into it, you get to the top and you do a star jump when you get there.
That was probably our biggest day together. We were right there together. He’s an improving lad and, with the mentality that he has, you never know where he’s going to get to.
Old Guard didn’t run badly in the International Hurdle. He jumped really well for me, and that was important. He isn’t the bravest to jump, but I felt on Saturday that he really wanted to go in and have a go at his hurdles.
They just got away from him a bit when they quickened. It had rained, but the ground still wasn’t that testing, and they just had a bit more toe than he had going down the hill. He probably needs more of a test than two miles on that ground. Two and a half miles might be his best distance or two miles on very soft ground. He is game though, he always tries his best, and I have no doubt that there are races for him. It’s a big positive that he showed a lot of confidence at his hurdles.
I was lucky enough to win the novices’ hurdle last Monday at Plumpton on Brandon Castle, despite getting run away with!
He was a classy horse on the flat, and Neil and his team had done a lot of work with him at home, getting him jumping. It’s very different racing over hurdles. It’s a very different way of racing. The main plan was to get him settled in behind horses, get him running and jumping. But that plan went out the window when he flew the first and we went through the field like a hot knife through butter!
He hurdled great, nearly even too quick. Luckily, I was able to get him back and get a breather into him past the stables. Even Nijinsky couldn’t have kept going at the pace he was going.
I got another breather into him at the third last, and that helped a lot.
He jumped the last two well, and he needed to because Barry was coming at me on Collooney. And he stuck his head out gamely.
He did well to win, and he should do better if he can learn to settle better. The more hurdles he jumps, the more he will learn about them, and the more I ride him, the more I will learn about him. You try to figure horses out. It’s like a jigsaw, you try to figure out what works for them. They can’t talk, and they can be the most complicated jigsaws in the world, but they can also be the most rewarding if you can figure out the solution.