With a hugely impressive 11 wins to his name, Paul Nicholls was already the most successful trainer in the history of the race. The champion trainer looked to boast strong claims of extending that record still further, with four of the nine runners hailing from his Ditcheat yard.
Leading the charge was 2018 and 2019 champ, Clan Des Obeaux, who was bidding to join Desert Orchid and Kauto Star as the only horses to win the race three times in succession. Narrowly behind Clan Des Obeaux in the betting came Cyrname, who had recently lowered the colours of the mighty Altior.
Nicky Henderson’s Santini and Lostintranslation from the yard of Colin Tizzard also brought strong form to the table, having finished second and third in the 2020 Cheltenham Gold Cup. In a rare all-British field, the closest thing to an Irish contender came in the shape of Real Steel, who had recently joined Paul Nicholls, having spent the bulk of his career with Willie Mullins.
- 1st – Frodon 20/1, Jockey: Bryony Frost, Trainer: Paul Nicholls
- 2nd – Waiting Patiently 12/1, Jockey: Brian Hughes, Trainer: Ruth Jefferson
- 3rd – Clan Des Obeaux 85/40F, Jockey: Sam Twiston-Davies, Trainer: Paul Nicholls
Prize Money Breakdown
- 1st – £116,178
- 2nd – £43,594.80
- 3rd – £21,828
- 4th – £10,873.20
- 5th – £5,467.20
- 6th – £2,733.60
Tote and Forecast Payouts
- Tote Win – £20.50
- Tote Places – 1st – £4, 2nd – £2.90, 3rd – £1.30
- Exacta – £143.20
- Computer Straight Forecast (CSF) – £218.69
- Trifecta – £996.40
- Tricast – £726.59
The majority of the big guns failed to fire in what won’t go down as a vintage renewal of the great race. In the end, Paul Nichols did land the prize once again, but not with either of the runners that most pundits expected to be in the mix.
It was no surprise to see the likeable Frodon set off in front given his trailblazing style. However, with the horse having been beaten by the small matter of 82 lengths in his previous outing, few expected the mount of Bryony Frost to stay there.
Headed out onto the second circuit, those doubting the pacesetter may have begun to have second thoughts, as Frodon’s accurate and attacking jumping had a number of those in behind beginning to feel the pinch. The well-fancied duo of Cyrname and Lostintranslation were the first to crack, with the pair being pulled up four from home, with Real Steel joining them after the third last. Defending champ, Clan Des Obeaux was still going, but losing lengths at his fences with his uncharacteristically erratic jumping.
Headed off the final bend, Saint Calvados and a rallying Clan Des Obeaux attempted to close the gap, but never looked like getting there. The only real threat then emerged in the shape of Waiting Patiently who flew home from the back of the field but had left it much too late, as Frodon held on for the biggest success of his career.
A round dozen for Nicholls, and a landmark success for Bryony Frost, who became the first female jockey to win this historic event.
- 1. Black Op – SP: 66/1, Trainer: Tom George, Jockey: Tom Scudamore
- 2. Clan Des Obeaux – SP: 85/40F, Trainer: Paul Nicholls, Jockey: Sam Twiston-Davies
- 3. Cyrname – SP: 5/2 Trainer: Paul Nicholls, Jockey: Harry Cobden
- 4. Frodon – SP: 20/1, Trainer: Paul Nicholls, Jockey: Bryony Frost
- 5. Lostintranslation – SP: 28/1, Trainer: Colin Tizzard, Jockey: Robbie Power
- 6. Real Steel – SP: 22/1, Trainer: Paul Nicholls, Jockey: Daryl Jacob
- 7. Saint Calvados – SP: 14/1, Trainer: Harry Whittington, Jockey: Gavin Sheehan
- 8. Santini – SP: 9/2, Trainer: Nicky Henderson, Jockey: Nico de Boinville
- 9. Waiting Patiently – SP: 12/1, Trainer: Ruth Jefferson, Jockey: Brian Hughes