Sitting at number 45 on the list of 2018 Grand National entries, Milansbar connections have all their fingers and toes crossed that he can make the cut when the next declaration stage rolls around on April 9th and if he does, jockey Bryony Frost has been confirmed as his jockey.
Bryony Frost has only partnered Milansbar once before, at Warwick in January when winning the Betfred Classic Handicap Chase, his first win since February 2016, the same race that was won last season by subsequent National hero One For Arthur. Trainer Neil King is hoping Frost can work her magic again if the 11-year-old chaser makes the cut for the Grand National 2018.
Despite the fact that Frost has never ridden in the Aintree showpiece she is definitely one of the rising stars in the weighing room and could now finish the season with the biggest win of them all – the Grand National.
There are plenty of runners entered this year with higher Official Ratings but few can claim to have run the number of big distance races that Milansbar has. With six chase starts already this season, the shortest was 2m7f with another at 3m1f. Two more were at 3m5f and two more at over 4m.
At 4m2f, the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter, on heavy ground, was always going to be gruelling test but Milansbar stepped up to the plate and finished a worthy second boosting his credentials as a real stayer.
While Frost didn’t partner Milansbar on that occassion, trainer Neil King said: “She was not available for his next two starts (after the Classic Chase), but she was always going to be the natural choice when she could ride.
“She gave him a nice ride at Warwick. The reason she wasn’t on the next two times was because Paul (Nicholls) needed her.
“Jack Andrews rode him brilliantly at Uttoxeter last time in the Midlands National, but he wouldn’t be able to get anywhere near the weight, and, secondly, he hasn’t ridden 15 winners under Rules yet to qualify for it.
“The horse has come out of the race really well. He does take his racing nicely and he’s in very good order.”
“It’s all systems go for the National,” King said, adding that he had the approval of Paul Nicholls, Frost’s main employer, to book her for the ride.
“I’ve been saying for three years that he’s made for the National and the way things have been this year, we might even get soft ground for him.”
They may need five more potential runners above him to get withdrawn but that’s not impossible as the last horse to make the cut a year ago was 48th in the list at this stage, three slots lower than Milansbar. That was the David Pipe trained Doctor Harper.
Milansbar is currently a general 40/1 ante-post for the National, and if Bryony Frost can make history and become the first female jockey to win the Grand National, she will also be emulating the success of her father Jimmy Frost who rode Little Polveir to victory in the 1989 Grand National!
Former Grand National hero Frost says he will be ‘proud and excited’ for his flying daughter Bryony if she rides in this year’s big race – nearly 30 years after he won it.
“It is the ultimate challenge for horse and rider,” said Jimmy, “but it would be a very proud moment for me and I would be excited for her.
“I think she’s well up for it.
“She’s got a little bit of experience under her boots, and she’s had a spin over the Aintree fences. I would have complete confidence in her now.”