Bryony Frost is quickly adapting to the role as the Frankie Dettori of National Hunt racing and her victory on Frodon in the Ryanair Chase catapulted her further into the limelight.
In doing so she because the first woman to ride a Grade One winner over jumps at the Cheltenham Festival and justified Paul Nicholls’ decision to skip the Gold Cup with the bold-jumping front-runner.
While Aso gained the advantage jumping the last, 9-2 chance Frodon, as he has done so many times already, kept on finding up the Cheltenham hill to win by a length and a quarter.
Another popular winner was Paisley Park in the Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle. Emma Lavelle’s seven-year-old, whose owner Andrew Gemmell has been blind from birth, had enjoyed a perfect season to date with four impressive victories which saw punters send him off at 11-8.
With former champion hurdler Faugheen in the field, he faced his stiffest test to date, but Paisley Park survived a last-flight blunder to account for last year’s beaten favourite Sam Spinner by two and three-quarter lengths, while Faugheen had to settle for third. It was the biggest win of jockey Aidan Coleman’s career.
Lavelle said of her winner, whose life had been threatened by an attack of colic two years ago: “He’s delivered for us the whole season and he’s done it again. I’m thrilled.”
Lizzie Kelly got her name on the winner’s board when riding Siruh Du Lac to victory in the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate.
Not unlike Frodon earlier in the day, Siruh Du Lac set the pace while jumping accurately and he had enough in reserve to hold 3-1 favourite Janika at bay by three-quarters of a length.
The Philip Hobbs-trained Defi Du Seuil (3-1 favourite) got the better of old rival Lostintranslation to claim the JLT Novices’ Chase – the first of three winners on the card for JP McManus, who followed up in the following Pertemps Final with the heavily-backed Sire Du Berlais, trained by Gordon Elliott.
The leading owner’s treble was completed in the Kim Muir as the brilliant amateur Derek O’Connor delivered Ted Walsh’s Any Second Now (6-1) with a perfectly-timed challenge.
Willie Mullins won the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle for the fourth straight year, with 50-1 shot Eglantine Du Seuil nailing her 66-1 stablemate Concertista on the line.