Bryony Frost and Present Man complete back-to-back victories in Badger Ales


A superb jumping display from Bryony Frost and Present Man enabled the pair to enjoy a repeat success in the £60,000 Badger Ales Trophy at Wincanton on Saturday.

The eight-year-old, who won the Listed handicap chase by a head last season, raced prominently before moving to the front on the turn for home and denying the late charge of Sumkindofking by two and a half lengths.

The triumph was the highlight of a five-timer for trainer Paul Nicholls, who also saddled Captain Buck's, who was fifth, and El Bandit, who started 5-1 joint-favourite but was pulled up.

Frost said: "What a perfect day. He's the biggest pleasure to sit on, what a warrior.

"The strides that he makes, you just don't think he can do them and he does. We're confident in him, but you have to be. He's trained to perfection and is as fit as a flea.

"It's an awesome day for Tessa and Mark Woodhouse [owners]. This horse is worth his weight in gold, we're buzzing."

She added: "This horse really started the ball rolling for me and it kept rolling throughout a fabulous last season. It's a pleasure to be associated with such a generous and giving horse as he really tries for you, especially with his jumping."

Asked if she would be joining in the celebrations with the sponsors' beer at the Nicholls yard in the evening, Frost said: "I will let the others sample the beer. It will be just a glass of coke for me as I'm riding tomorrow." 

Present Man is the first horse to enjoy back-to-back wins in the race since Swansea Bay in 2003, and Nicholls is eyeing a bid for the £1 million Randox Health Grand National following this impressive performance.

Nicholls said: "I know it's a cliche but this was his Gold Cup and he looked awesome in the paddock beforehand.

"We had been doing plenty of work with him at home to make sure he was fit enough to do himself justice.

"Last year he had a prep run over hurdles as he was a novice and that put him spot on. This time around we didn't have that luxury, but luckily the result has been the same."

He added: "The way forward with him will be a run at Aintree at some stage, as I see him as a Grand National horse. He'd love it round there the way he attacks his fences.

"With that in mind he could go to the Becher Chase at the beginning of next month over the National fences, just to find out, as there will not be much for him after Christmas. He's an autumn and spring horse."