Wincanton school pupils enjoy visit from star racehorse Frodon

TEACHERS used to reining in wayward youngsters turned their attention to a top racehorse during a special visit this week.

Pupils at Wincanton Primary School received a special visit from superstar racehorse Frodon and his jockey Bryony Frost on Wednesday (October 18).

The pair have combined to win no less than 11 races together, creating history at the Cheltenham Festival in 2019, when Frodon carried Bryony to victory in the Ryanair Chase – the first time a female jockey had won a Grade One chase at Jump racing’s Olympics.

Another one for the record books was when the duo teamed up to win Jump racing’s Christmas highlight – the Grade One King George VI Chase at Kempton Park – on Boxing Day in 2020.

Their most recent success together came in the 2022 Badger Beer Handicap Chase at Wincanton – a contest they will attempt to win for a second time on Saturday, November 11.

But they took time out of their busy training schedule to say hello to the pupils at Wincanton primary – and said they had a great time.

“It’s been absolutely awesome and both the kids and Frodon loved it,” Bryony said. “They were chanting his name and saying you’re going to win.

“Frodon is phenomenal. He loves all the attention and just takes it in his stride. He’s brilliant.”

Bryony, Rob and Frodon at Wincanton Primary School

Bryony, Rob and Frodon at Wincanton Primary School

She said this season, which is set to be Frodon’s final having turned 11, would not be the end of the partnership, as Frodon will go and live with her.

“It doesn’t feel like over four years ago that he won the Ryanair Chase, it feels like it was yesterday,” she said, looking back on their career. “It will always feel like yesterday.

“We also went to Ireland and won the Champion Chase which was an incredible moment. The King George he won was during Covid, so there wasn’t a crowd there, which was a bit of a heartbreak but he still owns the crown.

“We’ve had some amazing days together.”

She added: “When he is ready to retire he will be coming home with me which is great and we’ll be galivanting around the moors somewhere.”

Pupils got to get up close to the superstar racehorse

Pupils got to get up close to the superstar racehorse

Frodon’s visit was organised by The Jockey Club, alongside RacingToSchool – an educational charity that aims to inspire young minds through the provision of free, interactive, and healthy outdoor educational events for schools, staged at a variety of racing venues.

The children re-watched Frodon’s 2022 Badger Beer Chase victory with Bryony and learnt about racing with former jockey, Rob Bellamy.

Rob and Bryony then had a Q&A with the children in the hall and all were incredibly enthusiastic before star of the show Frodon arrived in the school playground where the children had the chance to meet him.

Jack Parkinson, general manager at Wincanton Racecourse, said: “It was great to be able to go to the heart of local community and showcase our wonderful sport to a young audience, which hopefully includes some racing fans of the future.

“Our new season at Wincanton is already well underway and we look forward to welcoming a large crowd on Badger Beers Chase Day which is always one of our busiest days of the year.”

Kay Carswell, head of school at Wincanton primary, said: “I would like to thank Frodon and Bryony for coming to visit us and The Jockey Club for making this all happen.

“A fantastic time was had by all despite the pouring rain and it was great to be able to offer the children something fun but at the same time also educational and learning about the sport that takes place at the racecourse just five minutes up the road.

“We’ll all be cheering on Frodon at Wincanton next month.”

Rob Bellamy, of RacingToSchool, was also present and said: “Racing in Britain still works in Imperial measurements, so we talk a lot about miles and furlongs and obviously the jockeys get weighed in stones and pounds.

“This is all alien to kids so we teach them how it works and hopefully they go away with a better understanding.

“It’s just wonderful to see so many children with smiles on their faces whilst technically doing some maths.”

Frodon and Bryony Frost will aim to be back in action on November 11, hoping to make it back-to-back wins in the Badger Beers Handicap Chase at Wincanton.

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I am the editor in chief of Blackmore Vale media, which includes the New Blackmore Vale, New Stour & Avon, Salisbury & Avon Gazette and the Purbeck Gazette, having been a reporter for some 20 years. In my spare time, I am a festival lover, with a particular focus on Glastonbury. I live in Somerset with my wife and two children.