Frodon stole the show at Down Royal on Saturday with a tremendous victory in the Grade 1 Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal.
The task beforehand looked a tough one with the Gold Cup winner Minella Indo and the top class chaser Galvin two formidable mountains to conquer. But Bryony Frost gets a great tune from Frodon who jumps for fun and is such a willing horse. They set off in front, as usual, dictating the pace, before finding more when joined on both sides at the second last fence.
Things still looked tight when Galvin laid down a sustained challenge but Frodon never knows when he is beaten and found more in the final 100 yards to hold on by three quarters of a length.
It was always the plan to go to Down Royal first time out to take on the top Irish chasers on their home ground and thanks to a career best by Frodon and a great ride by Bryony it paid off.
They will now head straight to Kempton on Boxing Day in a bid to land the King George V1 Chase for the second year running.
Frodon has been a superstar for the yard and has now earned over £1 million in prize money after joining us from France almost six years ago.
He was our 49th winner of the season and an hour later Kandoo Kid brought up the half century for the team with a pleasing triumph in a decent looking Novice Hurdle at Ascot. He is another nice prospect from our production line of youngsters who start off in bumpers before graduating to hurdles. He was given an excellent ride by Lorcan Williams who was unlucky to be denied by a whisker on Solo in the Novice Handicap Chase. They looked like winning the battle with Nassalam until Solo swerved left into his rival a couple of yards from the line. I was delighted with Solo’s jumping and there should be lots more to come from him over fences maybe dropping back in trip to two miles.
We were out of luck at Wetherby where Cyrname was pulled up by Harry Cobden late on after he choked in the Charlie Hall Chase. Given that he has had issues with his breathing throughout his career he has done well to win several races at the highest level.
Cyrname was in top order at home but was always doing a bit too much in front at Wetherby and once Blue Shan took him on rounding the final bend Harry Cobden knew he was in trouble. There was nothing left in the tank because the horse couldn’t breathe. I’ll have a chat with Cyrname’s owners this week before we make any decisions about his future.
Earlier in the week we enjoyed a treble at Chepstow on Tuesday with Mr Glass and Stage Star winning divisions of the maiden hurdle before Henri The Second landed the bumper in style.
This is always an exciting time of the season as we have lots of horses ready to run and with ease in the ground around the country after plenty of rain we are looking at another busy spell over the next seven days.
Hitman and Greaneteen both go in the Haldon Gold Cup on Tuesday at Exeter where we have entries in several other races.
Then on Saturday Bravemansgame heads to our local track Wincanton for the Rising Stars Chase while I might make a couple of entries at Aintree on the same day. In addition there is a chance that Cat Tiger might go to Auteuil at the weekend where he would be ridden by his owner David Maxwell in a race for amateur jockeys.
For the latest news on all my Saturday runners please be sure to check on my Betfair column which goes live late the previous afternoon.