If you haven’t heard of Denman then I can only assume that you’ve been living under a rock. If you need a little refresher on this magnificent horse then here goes…
Denman, nicknamed ‘The Tank’ is proving that despite his heart scare last year. He is more and more likely to be a sure bet at the Aintree Grand National in 2010. Having won both the Hennessy and the Cheltenham Gold Cup in the 2007-08 season, he pulled off another great feat by winning the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury. Becoming the first horse to win a second Hennessy since Arkle.
The only horse Paul Nicholls saw as a challenge for Denman was ‘What a Friend’. A horse part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson. Nicholls stated: “I said to Ruby going out that he had one horse to beat if everything went to plan – that one horse was What a Friend and it has turned out exactly like that. To see a run like that from Denman is very, very special.”
What a Friend was the second of three runners in the race for Nicholls. He came a respectable second, but third horse My Will; didn’t do quite so well, finishing seventh out of nineteen runners.
Denman is usually paired with jockey Sam Thomas. Nevertheless, it remains to be seen which of the pair Ruby Walsh picks. He chose Kauto Star over Denman in the 2007/08 Cheltenham Gold Cup, and Paddy Power is sure Walsh will remain loyal again. They’re offering 2-9 that Ruby rides Kauto Star and 11-4 Denman.
The Hennessy Gold Cup has arguably been a career-best for Denman as he is currently carrying 13 pounds more than when he won two years ago. Denman was carrying 12 pounds more than his nearest rival. However, his bold jumping and relentless rhythm won him the race. He produced a far better leap than his stable-mate, winning by three and a half lengths. Denman has already been quoted by some bookmakers as the favourite for the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Others have quoted Denman and Kauto Star joint-favourites.