She won the conditional jockeys’ championship last season, hit the headlines with Frodon at Cheltenham in March and has emerged as one of the most talked-about young riders in the sport, so listening to Bryony Frost’s views on racing and life in general is entertaining and informative:
On winning last season’s Ryanair Chase
You just can’t represent that sort of feeling when you cross the line. You don’t know where the line is, but then heads start to disappear and all I’ve got is Frodon’s ears, flat back, his mane in my face and all I’ve seen is just a blur of green and somewhere up there is the line and that’s all we’re heading to. You cross it and the world just disappears for a second. You don’t acknowledge where you are, what race it is, all you’re thinking about is him and how brave he’s been. It was just a proud moment – that’s the main feeling that came across.
On subsequent fame following Cheltenham
We stopped for a burger and a coke at the services on the way home and I had a note on that car that said, ‘we watched it on the telly’, that was class, things like that. I haven’t got a clue who they were, but they took the time to write a note. You here some wicked stories. If I can let people into my world just a little bit and see how I see these guys and the reason why I’m doing it, that’s mega for me. We live to make memories, that’s all that we’re here for.
On winning the Foxhunters at Cheltenham in 2017
It’s the amateur Gold Cup. I remember watching him the year before with Victoria (Pendleton) thinking I’d just love to ride him because he’s your older chap at like six o’clock in the evening – this is like his metaphor of person – he’d have his whiskey at six, sat in a big armchair and he would just put the world to rights. That was him and he just looked after me the whole way round. That was just a mega day and I thought it probably wouldn’t get better than that.
On Paul Nicholls’ support
I wouldn’t be here saying that I’ve won Grade Ones, I wouldn’t have been put into any sort of limelight if it wasn’t for Paul and him giving me the support along with his owners. They’ve been like a second family to me here. My riding has improved endlessly from being under the wing of them.
On what it means to be a jockey
As a jockey, your job is to improve your horse’s career, that is what you are employed to do and that is why you love the job, because every time you sit on a horse, whether you have a one-litre engine or a V8, you’re trying to make him the best he can be.
I’ve always just done me. I’ve never tried to style myself on anyone or copy anyone. I try to learn from anyone and everyone – you’ve got to make yourself a sponge. To any kid in life trying to do anything, you’ve got to try to surround yourself with people who are extremely good at their jobs. Surround yourself with champions if you want to be somewhere near the top.
On bouncing back from injury last season
To come to Sandown (for the last day of the season) was a big moment for me, I was on 49 winners – I really would have loved to get to 50. We knew we had the title in the bag, that was done so everyone was coming up to say we’ve a got a fiver on you and Black Corton and I was like ‘OK’ but he came right back on song. He gave me the best spin of my life and put me back on cloud nine after quite a miserable five weeks beforehand. I owe him a lot and it was mega to get the title.
On female riders
I’ve always believed it’s opinions that will stop you at the end of the day. They’re not facts, so you don’t have to listen to them. To me, if you’re good enough, you will get the opportunities. Paul doesn’t give me rides because I’m a girl, hopefully he gives me rides because I try hard and carry out my instructions on track and do the best I can. That’s the only reason why, not because of who I am. I can’t change it, I’m a girl, that’s me.
On teaching a journalist a lesson
(A journalist) called me up and wanted to do an interview, and his first question was, ‘girls struggle because they’re not as strong as men’ and my hackles went up immediately. I said, ‘I’m going to give you a metaphor and ask you to talk to me’. He was a bit baffled, but said ‘all right’. I said, ‘you’ve got a rugby player and a top jockey, so name me a rugby player’, which he did, and I said, ‘name me a top jockey’ and he said ‘Dicky (Richard) Johnson’, because he’s our best one. I said OK, they’re going to deadlift now, who’s going to lift the most weight and he said, ‘of course, the rugby player’, so I asked why and he said, ‘because he’s stronger’. I said, ‘we’re going to put them both on a horse and gallop straight line for a mile, who do you think will be more tired at the end of it?’. He said the rugby player because he doesn’t know how to ride a horse and I asked, ‘why’s that’, and he ummed and ahhed for a minute and said, ‘it’s technique’. And I said, ‘well, I just answered your question’ and put the phone down on him.