'He's retained all his enthusiasm' - Frodo team relishing Irish Gold Cup test | Horse Racing News - petsitterbank

‘He’s retained all his enthusiasm’ – Frodo team relishing Irish Gold Cup test | Horse Racing News

Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)

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Frodo: an impressive winner at Down Royal last year

Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)

By Jonathan Harding

Owner Paul Vogt is looking forward to sending Frodo into the lion’s den to take on Ireland’s finest at this weekend’s Dublin Racing Festival.

The ten-year-old is on course for the Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup (3.15) on Saturday but will not be joined at Leopardstown by stablemate Clan Des Obeaux, who has been rerouted to the Denman Chase by Paul Nicholls.

Nicholls has had 28 winners from 89 runners in Ireland and has scored with his last three, most recently when Frodo won the Champion Chase at Down Royal. He also won the Champion Hunters Chase with Bob And Co and Punchestown Gold Cup with Clan Des Obeaux in April.

Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup: racecard and betting

“This has been the plan for months,” said Vogt. “The ground should be suitable and Paul thinks it’s the right race for him. It’s going to be tough – it will be interesting to see which of the Irish-trained runners are going to turn up – but we’re looking forward to giving it a crack.

“He’s retained all his old enthusiasm and certainly proved that at Down Royal on his penultimate start. He’s quite lively at the yard, too, and he travels well, so we’re hopeful of a big performance.

“The best thing is the reception you get when you go over there. People came up to me at Down Royal and thanked me for bringing him over and I should think the crowd will be pleased to see him.”

Frodo finished fourth in the King George VI Chase on his last start, and Vogt added: “The ground at Kempton was dreadful and they all went quickly from the start, which may have finished a few of them off. It was sticky ground and it was hard for him to travel through it.”

Dublin Racing Festival 2022: what are the big races and how do I watch it?

Paddy Power are offering a €150,000 bonus if the Irish Gold Cup winner follows up in the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup in March but it has not been decided where Frodo could run after Leopardstown.

Vogt added: “He’ll have a few options. He could go to Aintree, back to Ireland or perhaps the Celebration Chase on the last day of the season. This is very much his big target and we’ve discussed it for a long time.”

Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)

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Frodo and Bryony Frost celebrate after their last successful venture to Ireland

Frodo and Bryony Frost celebrate after their last successful venture to Ireland

Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)

Nicholls won the Irish Gold Cup as a jockey in 1988 with Playschool for David Barons and as a trainer in 2009 with Neptune Collonges, who is the most recent British-trained winner of the race. His most recent runner in the race was Tidal Bay, who was second in 2014.

Greeneteen on course for Dublin Chase

He will also be represented by Tingle Creek winner Greeneteen, who will take on Everyone For Self in the Grade 1 Ladbrokes Dublin Chase (1.50) on Sunday. He was last seen chasing home Shishkin in the Desert Orchid Chase.

“Both horses are in good shape and we’re looking forward to having runners at the Dublin Racing Festival. Bryony [Frost] will ride Frodo and Greaneteen,” said Nicholls, who has landed 17 Irish Grade 1s.

“The Dublin Racing Festival has the right races at the right time and the right ground – I just hope we have the right ones in the right race! I’ve had great luck in the Irish Gold Cup as a rider and trainer and we had great success in Ireland last year – our three runners all won – so I’m hoping our strike-rate continues this weekend.

“The two horses will travel over on Wednesday night or Thursday morning and I’m looking forward to some great racing at Leopardstown.”

Ladbrokes Dublin Chase: racecard and betting

Nicholls will have his first runners at the track since December 2014 and his first at the Dublin Racing Festival but despite sitting top of the trainers’ championship, the yard has endured a rare lean spell.

On Monday, he wrote on his website: “The horses are definitely not in the same form they were in before they had a little break after their midwinter flu vaccinations at the end of last month.

“They can take a bit of time to get up and running again and it has happened before in January, which is always numerically light for us. The horses will come right sooner rather than later and we’re looking forward to a busy weekend with runners in Ireland, Scotland and at Sandown.”

Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup (3.15, February 5)

Sponsors: 5-2 Frodo, Minella Indo, 3 Kemboy, 9-2 Asterion Forlonge, 8 Tornado Flyer, Galvin, Melon, 12 bar

Read more on the Dublin Racing Festival:

Dublin Racing Festival 2022: what are the big races and how do I watch it?

Three-horse trainer taking aim at big guns with Leopardstown bumper hope

Heaven Help Us camp not running scared of Honeysuckle clash at Leopardstown

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