Ice-cool Frost guides Frodon to Cheltenham Caviar victory
Bryony Frost added further lustre to her burgeoning reputation as she teamed up with Frodon for another brilliant success, this time in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday.
The pair combined to land a similarly valuable prize at Prestbury Park in January, and likewise in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree in October.
They had to make do with minor honours when second in last month's BetVictor Gold Cup, but went one better with a fine weight-carrying performance on a bitterly cold and wet afternoon in the Cotswolds.
Prominent throughout, the Paul Nicholls-trained six-year-old became just the second dual winner of this contest - along with a former Nicholls inmate in Poquelin - adding to his 2016 gains with a never-say-die front-running victory.
Cepage proved a willing rival, but Frodon saw him off by a length and a quarter. Frost said: "He's got top-weight, but it's like he's got invisible wings - he's like Pegasus for me.
"He is the epitome of a brave racehorse. He wants to give everything for you - he is a big dude. The engine is still building underneath him. He is the complete warrior."
Nicholls added: "I thought he went a bit quick for the first mile, but he never stopped. I'm absolutely thrilled."
Brain Power (7/1) could join stablemate and dual Champion Hurdle hero Buveur D'Air in the two-mile showpiece next March after successfully reverting to the smaller obstacles in the Grade Two Unibet International Hurdle.
The seven-year-old has never quite fulfilled expectations over fences, but showed his true colours back over timber under Nico de Boinville.
Trainer Nicky Henderson was keen to credit owner Michael Buckley, saying: "It was totally his idea to go hurdling. This horse has always had stacks of ability. It's not that he's ungenuine, he just doesn't concentrate on what's in front of him the whole time. I'd be pretty sure he will be running in it (Champion Hurdle)."
Following the race, trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies announced the retirement of stable stalwart The New One after he was pulled up in his bid for a fourth victory in the race.
Owners John and Heather Snook have already seen their silks carried to Festival glory by Thistlecrack and Rockpoint will likely aim to follow suit after striking gold in the Grade Two Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle.
Trainer Colin Tizzard said of the 11/2 winner: "No doubt we will come back here for the Albert Bartlett."