This being Bryony Frost, she is not content with a simple description of what it was like to win a Grade One race last month at Cheltenham.
‘When I went up to cloud nine that day, I lost the map of how to get there. I’m not keen to find it and come back down,’ says the author of last month’s Festival fairy tale.
Not only did the 23-year-old ride Frodon to a thrilling win in the Ryanair Chase, she followed it up with a memorable, life-affirming TV interview while still aboard her mount in the moment of victory.
Bryony Frost will miss Aintree but is still on a high after her win at Cheltenham on Frodon
It was not your average tonguetied exchange so often heard on these occasions. Out gushed the words: ‘He is Pegasus, he has wings. He is the perfection of determination,’ were among her more lyrical evocations.
She can do more than just pilot a horse with supreme skill, and compete on equal terms with men. She also talks with an almost poetic leaning — the Bard of Buckfastleigh, her hometown in Devon.
This all-round star quality makes it disappointing that she cannot ride in this weekend’s Grand National, the result of a fractured collarbone sustained four days after the emotional scenes at Cheltenham. It will be painful to watch from afar, she admits, as she sits in the pub next to Paul Nicholls’ yard in deepest Somerset, to where she and her team repaired after her groundbreaking success on Frodon.
Her left arm is in a sling as she undergoes rehab in the hope of being back this season
Teetotal, she restricts herself to a full-fat cola. Her left arm is in a sling as she undergoes rehab in the hope of being back before the jump season’s close three weeks on Saturday. ‘I’m one-winged at the moment,’ she says, cheerfully. So, where does all this turn of phrase come from? School was difficult, being something of an outsider who preferred ponies to the party scene, but she enjoyed creative pursuits, despite suffering a form of dyslexia. ‘I loved trying to write stories and songs,’ she relates. ‘My imagination has always run wild.
‘When I was a kid, I was very feral. Perhaps that’s it. I speak with my heart more than my head, and maybe one day it will get me into trouble. When I gave that interview I was only relaying what I had just lived through.’
Frost, who despite injury is expected to be crowned this season’s champion conditional jockey, is a young star whose appeal could extend well beyond horseracing’s traditional constituency.
Frost suffered a fractured collarbone four days after the emotional scenes at Cheltenham
Clearly part of this is her gender, although she is determined not be defined by that.
That includes her stating that she will not be especially rooting for the female jockeys — Rachael Blackmore and Lizzie Kelly — in Saturday’s big race despite counting them as friends. Last year, Frost came fifth on Milansbar.
‘No, I think the National is one of the of most unpredictable races in the world and whoever wins, it’s beyond achievement. I will be buzzing for whoever does it, because it takes courage and skill. I can’t speak for the other girls, but I don’t see myself as any different from the lads.
‘We are all the same. We treat each other the same. Lads and lasses, you are treated as an individual, girl or boy.
The 23-year-old is expected to be crowned this season’s champion conditional jockey
‘It’s close-knit in there. We are strangers but we are family. You look after each other. When I had my fall at Southwell, the number of people wanting to help was incredible, to see if I’m OK, if I could get home all right.
‘I had been carrying an old fracture in my shoulder and thought that was it, I’d be OK after a cup of tea with some sugar. Your head is then a tornado when you realise what’s happened, especially with the National coming up.’
The daughter of 1989 Nationalwinning jockey Jimmy Frost, Bryony is steeped in the business. Or as she puts it: ‘When I was born and first opened my eyes, there was a horse there.’ They have always been an obsession and she relates: ‘My grandfather was a farrier and when I was a kid I nicked a pair of aluminium shoes off him and nailed them into my trainers so I could make clip-clop sounds and leave the footprints of a horse.’
Those footprints have already led her to 49 winners this season. Not that she has noticed much change in life since Cheltenham, where she says Frodon took off at the last fence ‘like an aeroplane, like the bit when you get thrust back into your seat’.
‘I’m a bit blind to that side of life (fame) because I just do me. But I like to let people into my world and share my life.
‘It won’t change who I am, it will make me better. I don’t see myself as different. If anything I feel below other people.
‘I don’t think in life you can say I’m going to change this or that perception or break a mould. If I can interest people in what I do, then all well and good.’
But it will not involve Aintree this week, just the occupational hazard of several days at the Oaksey House rehabilitation centre. ‘It will be hard watching horses I might have been riding there, but I’ve got my head round it and I will make up for lost time,’ she says.