Eight months ago jockey Bryony Frost was earmarked to ride Frodon in the Grand National. Could she have won it? Would the duo have given Tiger Roll a run for his money? We will never know, such as how 2020 has panned out.
But there is good news on the horizon. Frodon is back in training and is looking to make his seasonal debut at Cheltenham this weekend. With two days of racing and 14 races on the cards, Cheltenham is one of the first opportunities some of the best chasers have at getting a run since racing returned.
But it’s the 3.50 on Saturday that will give us the best indication of how our 2021 Grand National hopefuls are getting on. It’s a veritable whos who of the Grand National world so there’s a lot on the line in terms of potential entries in January 2021.
Familiar Grand National Names In The Running
The Cheltenham Handicap Chase is a Class 2 run over three miles and one furlong. There are currently 17 runners still in contention and the winner will take home £30,029. If you want to watch it, it will be broadcast on ITV4.
Frodon goes into this race as the number one horse on the highest weight of 11-12. Despite this, he is still on relatively short ante-post odds of 6/1 with Paddy Power.
The Paul Nicholls trained eight-year-old, who landed the 2019 Ryanair Chase at The Festival, will be ridden by Bryony Frost.
Walk In The Mill
Last seen back in January, Walk In The Mill finished fourth to Tiger Roll in the 2019 National and is twice a winner over the Grand National fences at Aintree, having taken the Becher Chase in 2018 and 2019.
At the time of writing, no jockey has yet been confirmed though James Best usually partners him. He goes into the race on ante-post odds of 12/1.
Cogry is another solid chaser who received an entry in 2020, though the handicapper did place him quite far down the list so a place in the starting line-up was never guaranteed.
Trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, at Cheltenham on Saturday he will be ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies who has been paired with him since October 2018.
He did pull up last time out at the Cheltenham Festival but otherwise was running quite well so could put in a good performance at the weekend. He is the second favourite going into the race on ante-post odds of 11/2 with Paddy Power.
This is an interesting one considering trainer Jonjo O’Neill has hopes that he can turn him into a Grand National contender.
Owned by Trevor Hemmings, Cloth Cap is 10/1 ante-post for the Cheltenham race. However, a good run here could bolster his National claims.
Despite some hefty chasing credentials, none of the above are actually the bookies favourite going to Cheltenham.
That honour goes to the Emma Lavelle trained Manofthemountain who is available on ante-post odds of 5/1. Just chaser is just seven-years-old but has already been racking up the wins.
— Emma Lavelle (@ELavelleracing) September 29, 2020
From his five chase starts, he has won four of them. He is also one of the few entries to have already raced this season, winning at Bangor last time out in September.
Currently rated at 137, he has been flying up the official ratings database. That is quite an achievement as he has only been chasing for one year.
So will he continue his winning ways on Saturday? He has never run at Cheltenham and will be attempting more than three miles for the first time. That said he is showing all the signs of a very promising run and worth a punt despite the odds offering little value.
Can Frodon and Bryony Frost reign supreme and solidify their Grand National 2021 chances or will they have to give way to a newcomer? We will find out in three days!