Frost bids to follow in dad's Little steps
Published 29/03/2011 | 05:00
Hadden Frost was not even born when his father Jimmy won the 1989 Grand National on Little Polvier, but the 20-year-old jockey will get his first chance to emulate his father's greatest victory on Saturday week when he lines up for his race debut on Calgary Bay.
"He's a good jumper and should be a great spin," said Frost. "I wasn't even thought of when dad won it. We used to watch Little Polvier's win on a crackly old video -- he pretended he didn't like watching it but he didn't take much forcing!
"I certainly won't be short of advice going into the race. He'll even be in the weighing room because he's riding in the Aintree Legends charity race."
Henrietta Knight's eight-year-old is set to carry an attractive racing weight of 10st 10lbs in the marathon. Hitherto it has not been the trainer's favourite race and her husband Terry Biddlecome endured a certain amount of bad luck in it.
He had 11 rides in it but missed the winning ride on Gay Trip in 1970 when he was out with an injury. When re-united with Gay Trip in 1971 the horse fell at the first and in 1972 they finished second having just failed to concede 22lbs to Well To Do.
Calgary Bay has never fallen in his career but has not won since December 2009. However, he was fourth behind What A Friend in the Totesport Bowl over the Mildmay course on his last visit to Aintree and was runner-up to Poquelin in the Vote AP Gold Cup at Cheltenham last December.
"He's a big strong horse but sensible," said Knight. "He's a clever jumper and good with his feet. The better ground the better for him, but the big question will be whether or not he stays four and half miles."
Her husband will no doubt point out that Gay Trip was ostensibly a two-and-a-half miler.
Frost (20) was 'jocked off' Somersby in favour of Choc Thornton in the Champion Chase, but Knight is more than happy to let him take his chance over the big fences. "Hadden's never jumped an Aintree fence before but he's a horseman and strange things happen at Aintree," she added.
"In the past it hasn't been my favourite race because I have always felt it's been a bit of lottery but these days the class horses seem to come through a bit better. Calgary Bay has a better chance than any of my six previous runners."
Calgary Bay is a best priced 33/1. The 10/1 favourite remains The Midnight Club now that Ruby Walsh has committed to riding him in preference to Niche Market, which will now be ridden by Harry Skelton.
Meanwhile, Chris Bealby took Surface To Air on a ramble round the Lincolnshire countryside yesterday as part of his preparation for the big race.
The 10-year-old is on course for the Aintree showpiece, although he only returned to action at Market Rasen earlier this month after suffering from tendon problems following his victory in the Summer National at Uttoxeter in June 2008. (© Daily Telegraph, London)