Just a week after experiencing the highest of highs, Bryony Frost has quite literally come down to earth with a bump.
A matter of days since she created history at the Cheltenham Festival by becoming the first female jockey to ride a Grade One winner at the famous meeting, Frost returned to racing on Monday at Southwell.
Unfortunately, she fell from her ride Midnight Bliss, and the resulting injury she received – a broken collarbone – is serious enough to keep the 23-year-old out of the Grand National on Saturday April 6.
Highs and Lows
After making front page news following her brilliance at Prestbury Park, appearing on Radio 4’s ‘Woman’s Hour’ and having her odds of being named BBC Sports Personality of the Year slashed, it was business as usual for Frost in the dangerous world of jump racing.
In she revealed in a statement:
“Yesterday I went to see an extremely good specialist in Cardiff, where my x-ray results have shown that I’ve fractured my clavicle.
“I suffered a fracture previously which healed well under pressure.
“My body’s response from that fracture makes me positive for when I go back for my assessment in a fortnight’s time, and for a swift return.”
It’s a cruel blow for the Devon rider, who is looking to emulate the achievements of her dad, Jimmy, who won the 1989 edition of the Grand National aboard Little Polveir….before Bryony was even born.
And when asked by the BBC if she had watched the video of her father’s most famous day in racing, she replied:
“Of course I have! I couldn’t count how many times, and every time you get a feeling of goosebumps and shivers.
“There have been rainy evenings when the fire’s been lit and we get the old cassette player out, and when you ask him ‘Dad, what did it feel like?’, he’s just like ‘well, I put my head down and didn’t quite believe it had happened, because everything was going up the pan!”
Frost’s best ride at the Grand National came last year, where she piloted Milansbar to fifth place in the Aintree showpiece.
“She gave him a smashing ride and he gave her a great ride.
“He was the first English horse home, which was nice.”
Sadly, Milansbar is currently on the reserve list for the 2019 edition, and so Frost probably wouldn’t have gotten the ride on one of her favourite horses anyway, although given her form this season she would have certainly been given a ride by someone.
“Milansbar – or Mars Bar as I call him – is an old gentleman now who is just fantastic. I would love to take him round there again. It cries out for him, but I think he will struggle to get in,” was Frost’s honest assessment in her BBC blog.
A female jockey is yet to win the Grand National, with Katie Walsh’s third aboard Seabass in 2012 the best effort thus far.
But there has been a real sea-change in how female riders are perceived, with the likes of Frost, Lizzie Kelly and Racheal Blackmore all being given more high profile rides in recent times.
Blackmore, who was a double-winner at Cheltenham, sits second in the race to be crowned Irish champion jockey, and both she and Kelly – who also won at the Festival – look well placed to make history at Aintree in 2019.