Sue Smith saddled Vintage Clouds to a famous Yorkshire victory. Put The Kettle On became the first mare to win the Champion Chase and Rachael Blackmore partnered the mare Honeysuckle to Champion Hurdle glory.
The first female jockey to win the celebrated race, Blackmore has won four Grade Ones this week and partners A Plus Tard in today’s blue riband race as Ireland looks to maintain its stranglehold on this year’s Festival.
But Frost and Frodon produced one of the great Cheltenham moments when winning the 2019 Ryanair Chase – and then they made all to win last December’s King George Chase at Kempton. Frontrunning tactics have been to the fore this week and that could be a blessing.
“We have three races on our calendar – the King George, the Gold Cup and the Grand National – and to say that we have won the King George and are going for the Gold Cup is huge; it’s massive,” said Frost whose father Jimmy won the 1989 Grand National on Little Polveir.
“The nature of horses is that when they get older and strengthen, they see out their races further, and you will see a lot of trainers, especially in the higher-rated races, dropping horses back in trip because they know they will gallop out to the line, and that’s what we’ve always done with Frodon.
“But this year he’s really proved that three miles is very much in his reach, and off a very strong pace he can see that trip, which is why we are going for the Gold Cup. We’re not going to dent our egos in any way, but we want to try to grab gold.
“He’s phenomenal. He teaches you to be determined, and for Paul [Nicholls] and his owner [Paul Vogt], who have kept me with him for so many runs, he is someone extremely special to be out there galloping with, and I’m extremely lucky to be associated with him.
“He knows his way round here probably better than me. At Kempton he was always jumping a little bit out to the side of the track. Here it’s quite complicated with its undulations and the fences do tend to come up very quickly.
“They’re lovely fences with big ‘bellies’ which encourage horses to jump well over them; he loves this track, it’s where he loves to perform, which is a massive bonus and fills you with confidence that you are somewhere that he loves to be.
“I’d like good ground if possible. Obviously we have the speed of a two-and-a-half- mile horse, and if the ground is good he loves to jump off the top of it and can really use his jumping like that, and it might play negatively for some of our opponents in that.”
Frost is also in awe of Blackmore after her Champion Hurdle win on Tuesday. “There have always been people in front of us who we aspire to, making history, and it was phenomenal to watch Rachael and her mare together yesterday. It was a mega moment in our sport, not just because Rachael was the first, but because Honeysuckle is achieving what she is as well,” she added.
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