Bryony Frost, who provided one of the highlights of last week’s Cheltenham Festival when victorious aboard Frodon in last week’s Ryanair Chase, will see a specialist in Cardiff on Wednesday to assess the injury to her shoulder sustained in a fall at Southwell on Monday.
Frost had been due to ride at Huntingdon on Tuesday but her hopes of building on last week’s memorable success are on hold for the moment at least, just 16 days before the opening afternoon of the Grand National Festival at Aintree.
“Bryony Frost had a fall yesterday at Southwell racecourse,” Johnno Spence, the jockey’s agent, said on Tuesday morning, “and was taken to hospital for a precautionary X-ray on her shoulder. Bryony is out of hospital and currently waiting to see a specialist in Cardiff tomorrow to agree the best plan of action moving forward in terms of her rehabilitation. We will update you when she has seen the specialist.”
Frost was riding Midnight Bliss for trainer Caroline Fryer in the Toalsbet Handicap Chase and was disputing fourth place when her mount fell at the 10th fence. The rider was able to walk back to the weighing room unaided but was then taken to King’s Mill hospital in Sutton-in-Ashfield for x-rays.
Frost is one winner short of reaching a half-century for the season for the first time and is currently 17th in the National Hunt jockeys’ championship. Frodon was one of four rides for Frost at last week’s Festival meeting and she has yet to ride a subsequent winner in seven starts since that historic success.
Jockeys with limited experience of Aintree’s Grand National fences will be required to walk a circuit of the course with a coach before they are allowed to tackle it in the saddle. This is the latest move to improve safety and welfare at the track before next month’s meeting.
Voluntary course walks with an official coach from the British Horseracing Authority have been available to riders for several years but will now be mandatory for any jockey who has not ridden over the Grand National fences more than twice at the big April meeting.
Several of the amateur riders competing in the Fox Hunters’ Chase on 4 April, the opening day, are likely to fall under the scope of the new rule, while some professionals in the following day’s Topham Chase could also be affected, in addition to less experienced riders in the Grand National. All those required to take part in a course walk will be notified by the BHA at the declaration stage the previous day.
Wednesday’s best bets
It is a surprise to find Top Ville Ben declared to run at Wetherby on Tuesday given that it is only six days since he took a heavy fall at the sixth in last Wednesday’s RSA Chase, but he is clearly none the worse for the experience and attracting plenty of support on Tuesday morning to make amends.
The stats on horses running so soon after lining up at the Festival might give punters cause for thought, however. Over the last 10 years, just eight horses have raced less than seven days after lining up for a Grade One at the Festival, and six of those were horses that had competed in an earlier race at the same Festival, something that is no longer permitted.
The other two were Ostentation, pulled up at 200-1 in the 2013 Supreme Novice Hurdle and then a (beaten) runner on the Flat four days later, and Dunraven Storm, who fell in a novice chase at Exeter a week after being pulled up in the 2015 Arkle Trophy.
Take out the requirement of having run in a Grade One and the record of horses running so soon after the Festival is only slightly less promising, with two wins from 23 qualifiers, back in 2009 and 2010, by horses that had run in the Foxhunters’ and National Hunt Chase. The losers included four favourites, at odds from 7-4 to 7-1, so Top Ville Ben has some worrying trends to buck in order to win today.
More significantly, perhaps, he also faces a useful and improving opponent in Louis’ Vac Pouch (2.40), the winner of his first two starts over fences in impressive style. While Top Ville Ben has been mixing it in Graded company already, Henry Oliver’s runner could be up to that standard too and should give the favourite plenty to think about.
Huntingdon 2.00 Miss Mumtaz 2.30 Locker Room Talk (nap) 3.05 Stormy Milan 3.40 Dyliev 4.10 My Turgeon (nb) 4.45 Newquay Cards 5.15 Parisian Affair
Wetherby 2.10 Theatre Legend 2.40 Louis’ Vac Pouch 3.15 Know The Score 3.50 Border Victor 4.20 Ballasalla 4.55 Sheshoon Sonny
Taunton 2.20 Birds Of Prey 2.50 Annie Bonny 3.25 Flight To Milan 4.00 Midnight Midge 4.30 Dancing Shadow 5.05 Gonnabegood