BRYONY FROST was hit with a ‘totally ridiculous’ ban after riding a brilliant winner at Cheltenham.
Sun Racing columnist Frost was hit with a two-day suspension for her victory on Yala Enki in the £33,762 Grade 3 handicap chase at the home of jump racing.
The horse’s trainer Paul Nicholls blasted the ban as ‘beyond me’ while the owners labelled it ‘grossly unfair’.
Frost on 3-1 Yala Enki was a convincing 1¼ length winner over 5-2 joint-favourite The Mighty Don in the 3m3½f chase.
But stewards launched an investigation immediately after the finish after noticing something just after three fences from home.
The official report read: “An enquiry was held to consider interference shortly after three fences out when the winner, YALA ENKI (FR), ridden by Bryony Frost, interfered with EMPIRE DE MAULDE (FR), placed third, ridden by Brian Hughes.
“Frost was suspended for two days for careless riding as she maneouvered left towards the rail when insufficiently clear, causing Hughes to take a check and switch right resulting in him making contact with GO ANOTHER ONE (IRE), placed fourth.”
The victory still stood, but Yala Enki’s owners were furious stewards had come to that conclusion regarding Frost’s ride.
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Owner Clive Hitchens told the Racing Post: “I take no satisfaction nor pleasure in speaking out but it needs to be said.
“We were thrilled with Yala Enki – it was a remarkable performance.
“He received a great reception and I had a lovely day at Cheltenham with my family.
“But then I heard Bryony had been suspended for two days and after watching the race a number of times when I got home, I thought it was totally ridiculous for the stewards to have made this judgement.
“It certainly wasn’t deliberate and did not affect the race.
“I thought it was a grossly unfair decision. Bryony rode a tremendous race.
“She’s been through a lot and to heap that one on her as well was unfair.
“Are they saying we wouldn’t have won the race if she hadn’t done what she did?
“I spend a lot of money on racing and the unfairness of the stewards took the gloss off a lovely day for me.”
Nicholls told Frost – who is still on cloud nine after her amazing Down Royal win on Frodon – to appeal the ban, which starts on November 28.
The 12-time champion trainer said on his website: “Yala Enki was given a cracking ride by Bryony, who gets on so well with him. How she got two days for ‘closing the door’ on Brian Hughes is beyond me.
“If she’d let Brian up the inner, I wouldn’t have been pleased.
‘AS GOOD A RIDE AS YOU WILL SEE’
“”It was tactical race-riding at its best and after giving the horse as good a ride as you will ever see, to be given two days is totally ridiculous.
“I sometimes wonder what things have come to and how decisions are made. I would strongly urge her to appeal.
“She got him in a lovely rhythm in front, kept up the revs, set him alight down the hill and they readily saw off all challengers after jumping the last fence.
“For an 11-year-old to carry top weight off 11st 12lb and win in that manner first time out was fantastic.”
Frost celebrates after victory on Yala Enki – but stewards dished out a two-day ban afterwards[/caption]
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