29th March 2018

Bryony Frost: The Randox Health Grand National

It’s been a pretty awesome fortnight. Neil (King) gave me a call two weeks ago when I was mucking out one day. The latest list for the Grand National had just come out. He said to me: “We’re 45th now. I never believed he’d get in but now we’ll probably be able to. You’re my first choice and if Paul’s happy I’d love to have you on him.” I said ‘give me 10 minutes and I’ll call you straight back’.


So I spoke to Paul and he said yeah kick on. He’s the mentor of my career and he’s looked after me as an amateur and now as a conditional. If it wasn’t for him I would never have had the ride on Milansbar at Warwick when we won the Betfred Classic Chase in January. It’s funny how things work out.


He’s a big, impressive horse with lots of scope. He’s 11 years old and knows where he’s at and what he’s capable of so who could ask for a better partner?


Jockey Club Estates have put some Grand National fences in at their Lambourn training grounds so we’ll take him there in a few days’ time and give him a pop over them.


We obviously still have to keep our fingers crossed that another five horses come out but just to have a chance to even ride in it is a privilege and what every jockey wants.


This time last year I was still an amateur and if you’d told me I’d have a ride in the Grand National on Milansbar I’d have thought you were mad!


You obviously try not to look back and just try and keep looking forward, but it’s quite a big thing. I remember when my brother Hadden had his first ride in the Grand National. Getting a ride is a big enough achievement in itself but to get as partner like Milansbar is something else.


Because it’s an unpredictable sport you have to be on the same lines and really be with your partner. If it’s just a normal race you’re thinking ‘is he travelling? How is he breathing? Is he striding?’ Then you add the Grand National fences and the occasion. There are so many factors.


We’ll try and find our own pocket, find our own rhythm and see if we can get lucky. You need some luck and you need to stay out of trouble. The thing you have to remember is everyone deserves to be on that line up and you’re all lining up with an equal chance. It doesn’t matter whether you’re 100-1 or not. Anything can happen in the race.


I guess we’ll know nearer the time if I’ll have any other rides at the Grand National Festival and that will decide when I head up there. But all being well, if we get there, then the whole family will go up.


I’ll definitely walk the course with Dad on the morning of the National though. We did it last year when I had a ride in the Foxhunters up there on Pacha Du Polder. He was telling me about different fences and gave me loads of advice. Then when you’re out there in the race itself you think, ‘Yeah he was right about that and that’.


I remember years ago I was at home and my dad got all these (video) cassettes out. It was a damp afternoon and I was about 15. I was going through them all. Races from Newton Abbot and stuff. Then I remember seeing this one with a sticker on it saying ‘Little Polveir’. It was the tape of the Grand National dad won. I was about 15 and had my nose pressed up against the screen. It had everything. All the stuff before the race and the race itself. It gave me goosebumps. It wasn’t my achievement but I was so proud of him. I knew then and I know now that if I have half the career Dad had then I’ll be delighted.


For the time being we’re just keeping our fingers crossed that Milansbar gets in and I’m looking forward to having a sit on him and schooling him over the green fences at Lambourn. Then we’ll take things from there.