The two main races at Cheltenham on Day Three, St. Patrick’s Thursday, went the way of the Emma Lavelle-trained Paisley Park and the Bryony Frost-ridden Frodon in the Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle and Ryanair Chase respectively.
Lavelle waited 20 years for a Grade 1 success until Paisley Park claimed the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot last December, but today she doubled her total of successes at the highest level as Paisley Park (11/8f) ran out a convincing winner of the Grade 1 Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle under Irish jockey Aidan Coleman.
Cork-born Coleman has had to wait 10 years for a second winner at the Cheltenham Festival, having claimed his first race win aboard Kayf Aramis in the 2009 Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle.
Coleman said: “It was super. You are never expecting to go round on the bridle on Paisley Park, but that’s what makes him such a good horse because he races behind the bridle, but it is the Stayers’ Hurdle and what he does is stay, exceptionally well. Because he’s quite a relaxed horse to ride, that allows him, when he hits the hill, to really finish. Although coming down the hill you’d like to be going that little bit better, you do know that when you meet the rising ground you’re going to get there.
Bryony Frost made Cheltenham Festival history this afternoon by becoming the first woman to ride a Grade 1 winner at the meeting as the gallant Frodon (9/2) won the £350,000 Ryanair Chase.
Frost and Frodon, trained by Paul Nicholls, made all of the running in the two miles and five-furlong Grade 1 event and showed grit, tenacity and toughness to see off the sustained challenge of Aso (33/1) up the Cheltenham hill.
Wiping away tears, the winning rider said:
“Frodon has got his day. He is Pegasus, he has wings, and he is the most incredible battler. He travelled and by God he jumps. When he got overtaken two out, most horses would quit, but he grabbed me by the hands and said ‘don’t you dare give up, don’t you dare not send me into the last, I want this more than you, now come on!’”