Frost expecting Nicholls team to be back on top form for Festival

Bryony Frost is backing Paul Nicholls to turn around his lull in form ahead of the Cheltenham Festival.

Frost travelled over to ride two of Nicholls’ stable stars at the Dublin Racing Festival – but Frodon and Greaneteen, both Grade One winners earlier in the season, ran poorly.

While Frost felt rain hampered both their chances, she admitted that neither gave their true running.

“As you can imagine, I’d been really excited about both Frodon and Greaneteen in the build up to the weekend, but my optimism drained away with the change in the weather, and besides that, anyone can see now that Paul’s horses aren’t quite right at the moment for some reason,” she said.

Bryony Frost and Frodon in happier times at Down Royal
Bryony Frost and Frodon in happier times at Down Royal (Niall Carson/PA)

“As you will probably have read, Paul is going to take a minute with the horses now as there’s a pattern to the way they are running. It’s almost unheard of for us to not be turning in knowing we are going to be there or thereabouts, but they are the top team, and they’ll soon be ready to rock and roll again.

“If there’s a positive, it’s that there’s time to find the reasons before Cheltenham.”

Frost and Frodon have become one of racing’s endearing partnerships but she took it easy on her old friend once his chance had gone behind Conflated in the Irish Gold Cup.

She told Betfair: “Frodon’s odds started to stack against him when the weather rolled in on Saturday. It just wasn’t his ground and once he was swallowed up two out, the white flag had to go up and we looked after each other.

“He’s not entered at Cheltenham so will have a good freshen up now, and we’ll make sure he has his ground next time you see him.”

Greaneteen and Bryony Frost in full flight during the Tingle Creek
Greaneteen and Bryony Frost in full flight during the Tingle Creek (Steven Paston/PA)

Greaneteen ran a similar race in the Dublin Chase, with Frost once again choosing the inside line, which attracted criticism in some quarters.

“I thought Greaneteen travelled and jumped brilliantly on Sunday, but we had to admit defeat at the same point. Unlike Frodon, I don’t think he minded the ground. He moved very well on it and jumped very well, so I wouldn’t be too worried if Cheltenham came up softer than usual,” she said.

“I’m told there was a bit of comment about me going around the inside on both horses, but Davy Russell followed me on Conflated in Saturday’s Gold Cup, so the winner came from the inner line.

“I’d walked the course and I went where I thought the best ground was. There was a strip of fresh ground that wasn’t galloped on down the back, and both of my horses have a slight tendency to jump left, so it made no sense for me to go wider.

“Also, Greaneteen can be quite keen, and if he’d been in amongst them that would have got him beat before anything. It wasn’t the weekend I’d been looking forward to, but they’ve both come home safe and sound and that’s the main thing.”

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