Bryony Frost claimed the biggest victory of her professional riding career after steering the Paul Nicholls-trained Present Man to a narrow success in a thrilling renewal of the Badger Ales Trophy.

After a gruelling three-mile-one-furlong test, there were only two runners in with a shot with a couple of fences to jump with Frost on Present Man going head to head with Leighton Aspell on Final Nudge.

Aspell looked as though he might just have stolen the advantage after the last, but Present Man, who is owned by the race sponsor, kept finding on the run to the line to win by a head.

Theatre Guide was eight lengths back in third with Southfield Theatre fourth.

Frost told ITV Racing: “He jumped and travelled – this is his Gold Cup. It’s their (owners) Gold Cup and they said to me I could ride him, I rode him at Kempton (last time out) and it’s brilliant to have pulled it off for them.

“He’s a brave horse. He has the heart of a lion and the braver you are, the braver he is as he answers every question.”

Nicholls added: “I was worried about the ground, but I must say I’ve never seen him look better.

“I knew he’d go in the ground, but it was whether he stayed in the ground.

“He’s a great example of Rome not being built in a day. He’s taken three years to get where he is

“It was a peach of a ride and it’s great for the owners.”