Bryony Frost became the first woman jockey to win the King George VI Chase after riding a sublime tactical race on Frodon to give trainer Paul Nicholls a 12th success in the race on Saturday.
The 25-year-old led from start to finish on the 20/1 outsider with whom she also enjoyed a landmark Grade One success at the 2019 Cheltneham Festival.
“I have just won the King George!” said a tearful Frost. “I had absolutely the best time on him.
“He has just smashed everyone’s expectations. I don’t argue with him too much as he is his own personality.
“I cannot stress how much this horse means to me – he is my life. You dream as a little girl to ride a horse like this.”
Success in the race — worth £113,000 ($150,000) to the winner and considered second only to the Cheltenham Gold Cup in terms of prestige — also makes Frost the most successful female jockey over jumps.
“I talked to my brother in the United States last night and I said I was one away from being the woman jockey with the most winners over jumps.
“He said ‘how cool would it be to do it in the King George?’.”
Frodon was the least fancied of Nicholls’s four runners with Clan des Obeaux, bidding for a third successive win in the race, finishing third.
Cyrname, who vied for favouritism with Clan des Obeaux, ran a dreadful race and was pulled up in the finishing straight, as was another Nicholls runner, Real Steel.
The aptly named Waiting Patiently came like a train under champion jockey Brian Hughes after the last of the 18 fences but Frost and Frodon managed to hold on winning by 2 1/4 lengths.
Nicholls watched the race from the Royal Box — empty of its usual occupants, who like the rest of the usual 20,000 crowd at Kempton Park had to stay away due to coronavirus protocols — and pumped his fist in celebration.
He had commented ahead of the race that he did not see Frodon as a contender but conceded after his unexpected victory that the horse was a quirky character.
“I wasn’t expecting that although he’s a very good horse on his day and loves it round here,” Nicholls told broadcaster ITV.
“I said to Bryony ‘go as quick as you can and just keep galloping, you know he’s tough and brave’.”
The 58-year-old Englishman said Clan des Obeaux had run “flat”. As for Cyrname, Nicholls believed the horse had gone into a sulk when he did not get his way.
“Cyrname seemed to spit the dummy out when he got dropped in behind and probably likes to dominate but this horse (Frodon) keeps going a gallop and never knows when he’s beat,” he said.