Frodon and Bryony Frost to line up at Cheltenham Gold Cup after three-quarter length win in Cotswold Chase
- The Paul Nicholls-trained gelding displayed trademark exhilarating jumping
- He is now as short as 12-1 for the feature race of the Festival after stamina doubts
- Before Saturday, Frodon had never won beyond two miles, five furlongs
Marcus Townend for MailOnline
The Paul Nicholls-trained gelding, who has progressed through the handicap ranks, displayed trademark exhilarating jumping. He is now as short as 12-1 for the feature race of the Festival after going some way to dismiss doubts over his stamina.
Before Saturday, Frodon had never won beyond two miles, five furlongs. Saturday’s race was run over three miles and a furlong. He will face a further furlong in the Gold Cup. Having made all the running to secure his fourth track success, Frodon’s stride was shortening after the final fence as runner-up Elegant Escape bore down.
Frodon and jockey Bryony Frost will line up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup on March 15
FOUR THINGS WE LEARNT ON TRIALS
1. Ben Pauling-trained winner Kildisart will be a contender for the JLT Novices' Chase but he will have to jump more fluently than he did yesterday.
2. Cotswold Chase runner-up Elegant Escape deserves to take his chance in the Gold Cup and would have place prospects in testing ground.
3. Joseph O'Brien's Fakir D'Oudairies is favourite for the Triumph Hurdle after an easy win but punters beware. The trainer has other, possibly even better, contenders.
4. Paisley Park is now clearly the best of the British in the Stayers' Hurdle and can defend a prize which previously looked destined for Ireland.
But Nicholls, who ran Frodon in the shorter Ryanair Chase at last year’s Festival, was adamant that the slowing down was a combination of losing concentration and not being 100 per cent fit. The 10-times champion trainer said: ‘He just got a bit tired after the last fence but he does idle.’
Nicholls, whose King George VI Chase winner Clan Des Obeaux is 7-1 for the Gold Cup, added: ‘He loves the track and is improving rapidly. He is not the quickest and he would get outpaced in the Ryanair Chase. The Gold Cup is a more realistic trip for him.’
Frost added: ‘I’ve never ridden a horse that has a heart like him, and over the last two fences it is visible for everyone to see.’
The last Cotswold Chase winner to land the Gold Cup in the same season was Looks Like Trouble in 2000.
They booked their place with a three-quarter length victory in the Betbright Cotswold Chase
The Cleeve Hurdle has a much better record as a trial for the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Festival and yesterday’s winner, Emma Lavelle-trained Paisley Park, must have a serious chance on improving that record further. He is 7-2 favourite after winning by 12 lengths with Aidan Coleman.
Meanwhile, Barry Geraghty has overtaken Richard Dunwoody to become the fourth most successful jump jockey in Britain and Ireland after the 1,875th career win on Birchdale at Cheltenham.
Only Sir Anthony McCoy (4,348), Richard Johnson (3,588) and Ruby Walsh (2,737) have ridden more.