LIZZIE KELLY: Frosty and the showman! I’m tipping Frodon – with the brilliant Bryony on board – to win a vintage King George on Boxing Day
- I’m backing Frodon and Bryony Frost to win the King George on Boxing Day
- I was lucky enough to ride a few winners at the Kempton Christmas meeting
- After winning on Frodon last year Bryony will probably feel the same as I did
No one is sure what will be happening because of Covid after Christmas Day but racing fans can at least look forward to what looks like a vintage renewal of the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase on Boxing Day.
And I believe they could be cheering home Frodon and Bryony Frost as the winners once again.
I was lucky enough to ride a few winners at the Kempton Christmas meeting, including on Tea For Two in the Grade One Kauto Star Novices’ Chase in 2015.
I’m backing Frodon and Bryony Frost to win the vintage King George on Boxing Day
Those fond memories and the tremendous Boxing Day atmosphere meant it was one of my favourite days of the season and even the long drive from my Devon base never seemed too bad! After winning so well on Frodon last year Bryony will probably feel the same as I did.
The gelding’s trainer Paul Nicholls, who is chasing a remarkable 13th win in the race, reckons Frodon is underestimated in the betting and I agree with him.
The nine-year-old showed he is in good form when winning at Down Royal in Northern Ireland in October on his seasonal debut when Cheltenham Gold Cup winner and Boxing Day rival Minella Indo was back in third.
He also had stablemate Clan Des Obeaux behind him when winning the race last year yet both those rivals are ahead of him in the betting. I don’t think that is right.
Frodon is a joy to watch when he is racing. He is so brave at his fences and I love his front-running racing style. That should make him vulnerable to the horses that sit off the pace waiting to pounce but he has got so much heart he seems to find a way to fend them off.
The gelding’s trainer Paul Nicholls reckons Frodon is underestimated in the betting and I agree
If you can get in a rhythm on a horse at Kempton jumping, you can be hard to peg back and that’s what Frost managed to do on Frodon last year. It helps when he effortlessly makes ground on other horses with his jumping.
The run of Henry de Bromhead-trained Minella Indo behind Frodon at Down Royal was creditable. He is entitled to strip fitter for that run and will be a popular choice with all-conquering Rachael Blackmore on board.
But he has never run around Kempton — a completely different type of track to Cheltenham — and I wonder whether he might be a bit tapped for speed. Clan Des Obeaux is a dual race winner. He was disappointing last year when third to Frodon but ended the season strongly winning Grade One steeplechases at the Aintree Grand National meeting and the Punchestown Festival where he beat dual Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo.
We’ve not seen him yet this season. Nicholls is very bullish about Clan Des Obeaux’s preparation but it looks a negative that he has never won on seasonal debut.
Nicky Henderson’s Chantry House is an up and coming horse who won at both Aintree and Cheltenham last season. I like him but this is a step up on the tests he has faced so far.
Frodon is a joy to watch – he is so brave at his fences and I love his front-running racing style
Willie Mullins-trained Asterion Forlonge will be a threat if his suspect jumping holds up. But that is a big if, while I was really encouraged by the comeback Ascot win of Lostintranslation last month.
He was one of the hardest hit by the virus that stopped the Colin Tizzard stable in its tracks last year but the stable is rejuvenated this season and the same looked true for Lostintranslation.
He looked like the horse of old and showed plenty of speed, a good thing considering the fast pace Frodon will set.
It would also be great if Jeremy Scott-trained Dashel Drasher runs well. His regular jockey Matt Griffiths is recovering from a car crash. Dashel Drasher has run his best races at Ascot and Kempton is not too dissimilar.