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Bryony Frost in dreamland as magnificent Milansbar finishes fifth

Milansbar (yellow) gave Bryony Frost a dream first ride in the Grand Natioinal, eventually finishing fifth
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Bryony Frost will never forget her first ride in the race her father Jimmy won on Little Polveir in 1989.

One of three female jockeys with a fancied ride in a Grand National – offering as realistic an opportunity as there has ever been for a landmark win – she finished fifth on Milansbar, but to listen to her afterwards you would have been excused for thinking she had won.

Frost, the riding sensation of the season, was brimming with pride, and rightly too. She gave the Neil King-trained Classic Chase winner a great ride, having him near the head of affairs enjoying himself for a circuit and a half, and then looking after him when he started to struggle. 

She said: "It's just an amazing feeling to be sat on a horse like him going around there. He's given me the best first spin I could have ever asked for, and he battled hard to be fifth."

Frost added: "We've gone a lovely even gallop and I've kept him in his own space, a bit wide. That's where he's happiest and you've got to ride your horse where he's happy, but down by Valentine's second time he's just started to come underneath me a bit, and I had to give him a minute as it's a long way home.

"It's an amazing race and I'm so proud of him. Everyone is in tears washing him down there. I hope he's dreaming as well as I am tonight."

Baie Des Iles with trainer Ross O'Sullivan (left) and jockey Katie Walsh (right), who are married
Frost, whose mount was later found to be lame on his left hind according to a stewards' report, was beaten just over 30 lengths, but she was seven places ahead of Katie Walsh on Baie Des Iles, who was never quite in the firing line.

Walsh's father and brother combined to win with Papillon 18 years ago and she had come closer to a landmark win than any other female who has ever ridden in the race when third in 2012 on Seabass.

Baie Des Iles was last of 12 finishers, beaten the best part of 90 lengths, but Walsh was luckier than Rachael Blackmore, whose first National experience came to an abrupt end when Alpha Des Obeaux fell at the Chair when right in the thick of it.

Walsh said: "Baie Des Iles ran well and jumped super, but it would have suited us better had they gone a stronger gallop. Hopefully she'll come back and run in the race again next year."

A happy Bryony Frost after schooling Milansbar at Neil King's Lambourn stables on Thursday

Blackmore took a nasty fall but walked in uninjured with BHA chief medical officer Jerry Hill. She said she was "fine", and added that Alpha Des Obeaux had gone well until his mishap.

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He's given me the best first spin I could have ever asked for, and he battled hard to be fifth
E.W. Terms