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Denman Exciting Connections Ahead of Gold Cup
27/01/11

When the Paul Nicholls-trained Denman lowered the colours of his superb stable companion Kauto Star to win the 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup the talk was of a horse who might go on to be one of the all-time greats. As yet he hasn't quite managed that although he has established himself as a top class performer, but if he wins back the title at Cheltenham on March 18 he will rightly be able to be talked of as an equine superstar, writes Elliot Slater.

Denman
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Denman

Kauto Star did come back and win a second Gold Cup in 2009 and that really is the modern benchmark for Denman, an achievement which is truly not beyond the capabilities of the Paul Barber-owned 11-year-old. It's amazing to note that since his tremendous 2008 Gold Cup success, despite running a series of great races, Denman has only won one subsequent race. That was the 2009 Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury, a race he dominated under a massive weight and won for the second time at the expense of another stable companion, What A Friend.

Second to Kauto Star in the 2009 Gold Cup and a gallant runner-up once again to the younger Imperial Commander in March last year, Denman still maintains a very high level of form, and, if reports emanating from the Nicholls stables at Ditcheat are anywhere near reliable, then it does appear that there is a growing belief that Denman is back to as close to his best as he has been for some years and he'll no doubt attract a few Cheltenham 2011 bets.

We've seen Denman just once this season when running another great race under a big weight to be a gallant third in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury behind Diamond Harry. The Cheltenham racing betting suggests he could do better in March.

He will go straight to Cheltenham with Nicholls and Barber believing that he still has a very serious chance of regaining the title and going into the racing history books alongside Kauto Star as one of the best chasers of the modern era.

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