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Frodon’s fantastic career comes to an end

Paul Nicholls has announced that his 11-year-old chasing star Frodon has been retired from racing.

His owner Kevin Vogt stated upon his retirement: “We were planning on retiring him this season and the timing is right. He went out on a really good note and gave a wonderful round of jumping at Kempton. He’s been a brilliant racehorse and we’ll never find another like him. He had so much heart and ability and was a fabulous jumper.”

A firm fan favourite, his career highlights include victory at Cheltenham in the 2019 Ryanair Chase and an exceptional King George VI Chase triumph on Boxing Day of 2020.

That is just the tip of the iceberg on what has been an exceptional career for Frodon and below we pay tribute to what an unbelievable star of the sport he has been.

Early days and move to Manor Farm

Frodon made a winning start to life as a juvenile in his home country of France, triumphing at Auteuil over hurdles way back in 2015.

He would go on to struggle at the same track throughout the rest of that year, before being gelded and making a switch of yards from Kevin Nabet’s France-based stable to Paul Nicholls’ in England - the move that would change his fortunes.

A slow start to life at Manor Farm saw Frodon continue over hurdles to mixed results before a much-anticipated switch to fences at Newton Abbot kickstarted what would turn into a very fruitful career with earnings of over £1.1million.

Chasing and Sam Twiston-Davies

Frodon seemed to have a good connection with jockey Sam Twiston-Davies - with good jockey relations a sign of things to come for his career - as the pair combined for six wins from eight runs between September 2016 and April 2017.

In that sequence came a fantastic Grade 3 Caspian Caviar Handicap Gold Cup Chase win at Cheltenham, a course he would grow to love over the coming years.

Frodon and Frost a match made in heaven

December 2017 would see Frodon enjoy the third - and perhaps most important - big change in his career, following the move to the UK and switch to hurdles, as a young Bryony Frost took the saddle on the then five-year-old for the first time.

They finished second at Ascot in their first run as a pairing before winning their first race as a duo at Cheltenham in January in the Grade 3 Crest Nicholson Handicap Chase.

That would be the first victory of many for the Frost and Frodon combination, with the following season pivotal to putting both on the map.

Cheltenham domination and Ryanair Chase crown

The 2018 season began in fantastic fashion for Frodon and Frost as they romped home in a Grade 2 Handicap Chase on Aintree’s Mildmay course before finishing a narrow second in the Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Cheltenham’s November meeting.

That would not dishearten the pair however, as they went on to win three races in a row, all at Cheltenham, culminating in a historic Ryanair Chase victory that saw Frost become the first female jockey to win a Grade 1 at the Festival.

There was unfortunately no progression from Frodon in the 2019 season, winning just one of his four runs in that campaign, but that would not be the end of his triumphs at the highest level.

King George VI triumph

The 2020 season started in much better fashion, with another Cheltenham win in October that took his record at the course to 6/13.

But perhaps the crowning achievement in Frodon’s career came on Boxing Day of 2020 as he landed the much-coveted King George VI Chase at Kempton as a 20/1 shot.

It was an exceptional run, beating another Paul Nicholls trained mount Clan Des Obeaux - the favourite - into third, and made sure he would always be remembered as a fan favourite in the horse racing sphere.

Later years and retirement

A win in the 2021 Oaksey Chase at Sandown was followed by a narrow victory over Galvin in the Champion Chase at Down Royal in October.

Poor runs in the 2021 King George VI Chase at Kempton and 2022 Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham looked to spell the end for Frodon, but the legendary chaser was not quite done yet.

He entered the 61st Badger Beer Handicap Chase at Wincanton as favourite, and justified that title in fantastic fashion in what would prove to be his last ever victory.

Seven subsequent runs provided no wins and one last attempt at the King George VI Chase, where he gave a valiant performance, would prove to be his last ever appearance, as the curtain was closed on an excellent career for Frodon which will be fondly remembered by all fans of racing.

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