Bryony Frost’s world ‘turned upside down’ after King George win on Frodon

BRYONY Frost has been overwhelmed by the response to her victory aboard Frodon in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.

Bryony Frost and Frodon on their way to a landmark win in the King George VI Chase at Kempton.
Bryony Frost and Frodon on their way to a landmark win in the King George VI Chase at Kempton.

The 25-year-old wrote her name into the record books seven days ago after becoming the first female jockey to win the celebrated Grade One contest – jump racing’s mid-season highlight – following a fine front-running performance from both horse and rider.

Those watching from afar at Wetherby included legendary showjumper Harvey Smith, who was in awe of Frost’s horsemanship and how horses jump for her.

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Having had little time to come to terms with what she has achieved before a frenetic week which included an unsuccessful trip to Catterick, Frost, whose victory was watched by 1.4 million people on ITV Racing, claims she is still taking everything in.

Bryony Frost embraces trainer Paul Nicholls who is now a 12-time winner of the King George VI Chase.

Frost said: “I woke up the following morning and my first thoughts were ‘crikey, I’ve won the King George’. My world has been completely turned upside down with the amount of ‘well dones’ and love being sent the whole team’s way. It’s just epic.

“I think they said 1.4 million people viewed it. You can’t even comprehend that in your head – how people would have seen him and how epic he is. It’s a pretty cool thing and I don’t think it will ever sink in.

“While I was trying to keep up with my phone, I burnt my pizza on the night of the race! I managed to get a free coffee from the garage on the way home as I was chatting to the guy behind the till and he saw it. I got a free vanilla latte, which I was chuffed to bits with!”

With Kempton under Tier 4 coronavirus restrictions, only a handful of people were able to witness Frost and Frodon’s moment of glory.

Frodon and Bryony Frost gallop to the line in the King George VI Chase.

However, she knows plenty of noise was made in homes across the country with her success comparable to Hollie Doyle’s groundbreaking feats on the Flat in 2020.

“It’s afterwards (you realise). It’s gutting not to have the sports fans here shouting you in, giving you high-fives and a thumbs-up and things like that. I sure hope that in everyone’s living rooms or kitchens or wherever they were watching from, the roofs were coming off the houses instead of the roof here at Kempton,” said Frost.

“I talked to Paul Nicholls (trainer) and he said there is nothing quite like the King George when all the spectators are here and they are always raising the roof for the King George winner.”

Plenty have praised Frost for her heroics in the saddle but not every response to her landmark win was positive.

She said: “The more success you have, the more people will frown at you as well as smile with you, so you have to accept it all. I’m very lucky I’ve got a supportive team and family around me and I’m starting to build that bubble in tight.

“I will never change myself because of what some opinions are, as that is not what you are supposed to do. As you grow up, you have to remain yourself and that’s the important thing.”

Making headlines is something Frost has made a habit out of throughout her career. “As a kid my imagination was always running wild with the maybes, but after I started point-to-pointing, I realised how tough it is without support,” explained the jockey who grew up on Dartmoor basking in the glory of her father Jimmy’s Grand National win in 1989 on Little Polveir.

“I just think don’t look up too high, but keep focused on where you are at, making the best of things and surround yourself with the best people to be the best.

“My dad and my brother (Hadden) are the biggest people I admire and Ruby (Walsh) in his finesse of riding and his balance. I used to watch Ruby win the King George and that to me was mega with Paul’s team. Then to be associated with Paul and get my first couple of rides for him was great.”

Riding notable winners is nothing new to Frost, having also become the first woman to ride a Grade One winner over jumps at the Cheltenham Festival aboard Frodon in last year’s Ryanair Chase.

However, she feels her King George success may be her biggest achievement yet. She said: “If you give me a month, I would probably be able to weigh up the two. It’s hard to judge. It would be like having two dogs or cats at home and trying to weigh them up, I guess. When it does sink in, we might just realise what we have achieved.”

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