Matchbook Ambassador Bryony Frost reveals her thoughts on the equine flu and explains how even with the postponements there’s no time off for her or other jockeys.
It’s frustrating that racing is in lockdown. As a jockey, you live for your racing, so it’s frustrating not to be going racing. That said, obviously, our horses’ health is the main thing. The most important thing is that they are healthy and fit. And if that means that we have to sit still for as long as it takes, then we are happy to do that.
Obviously, the best thing is to go into lockdown, so that the equine influenza can be got under control as quickly as possible, so that we can all get back racing sooner rather than later. You don’t want to play risky with it.
We’re still full-time though. You’re in at 10 to seven, you muck out your five, you ride out your three lots, then you’re home for lunch. You’re back to the yard for three o’clock, muck out your five, or your six if you have an extra one. You’re home at half five or six, cook your dinner and then to bed. I put an extra coat on, keep busy, keep fit during this time.
You learn from being in the yard, from watching Paul, from watching Clifford.
Clifford has so much experience, you can ask him whatever you want. He’s always so helpful. Also, you’re part of the team, you’re there with all the lads and the girls and you learn about the horses. They’re all individual. You build up your library of information on your horses.
It’s two weeks now since Frodon won the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham. He was unbelievable that day. We had to go and find out, see would he stay that trip, three miles and one and a half furlongs. We were all quietly confident that he would stay, but we needed it in writing.
We were never going to ride him any differently to how we always ride him, and he was brilliant. He never missed a beat. He idled a bit on the run-in, but he was entitled to idle. He had been out in front for so long.
It might have looked like he was coming back underneath me, but he wasn’t. Elegant Escape was finishing so fast. And when he got close to our flanks, Frodon found more and kept him at bay.
He’s becoming a proper horse now, he’s really maturing. His cards are on the table now, either the Gold Cup or the Ryanair Chase. It depends on what the weather does, it depends on what the ground is like, but you have to give him his chance. I believe that he will get the Gold Cup trip. It’s only another furlong further than the Cotswold Chase distance, and actually, the rail was so far out, it’s probably less than half a furlong.
It’s fantastic for Mr and Mrs Vogt. They deserve it all. And it’s unreal for me, to have a horse in my career that I can say could give me a chance in the Gold Cup.
Paul has his horses 110% ready every time, planned and trained for the race he has aimed them at. In my opinion, he is one of the best at making sure his horses are in the right races.
Frodon has been great since then. He’s the most intelligent horse. When the snow came down, you could tell that he had been in his stable all night, looking out at it. As soon as he got out, he put his head down, put it into the snow. Ran his nose along it.
He went out of the yard bucking and squealing. There were about 30 horses in the string, all out together. It was some work by Harry Derham and the team to get the horses out in that snow. Frodon loved it. He was quite hard to hold. He’s enjoying himself. Holly, who rides him every day, said that he tried to buck her off the other day. He’s in great form.
It was very nice to win on Silver Quay again at Taunton for Dad on Monday. Dad can train horses, it’s just a case of having the ammunition. This horse had problems with his pelvis, he needed lots of time to mature, he needed a lot of physio work, a lot of loose schooling.
Dad has done an unbelievable job with him. He worked really hard with him, on teaching him how to race, how to get away from a hurdle. It’s great that the penny is dropping with him now.
It’s only a little team, but he has lovely owners, the Joneses. They come and visit every Sunday, and when they get a winner they get a great kick out of it. It’s lovely to see it. They’re lovely people.