Denman on 15 March 2006
|Owner||Paul Barber & Maggie Findlay|
|Denman is a thoroughbred racehorse out of Polly Puttens by Presenting. He was born around 2000 in Ireland, and was bred by Colman O'Flynn.|
Challow Novices' Hurdle (January 2006)|
Berkshire Novices' Chase (2006)
Royal & SunAlliance Chase (2007)
Hennessy Gold Cup (2007, 2009)
Lexus Chase (2007)
Aon Chase (2008)
Cheltenham Gold Cup (2008)
|Horse (Equus ferus caballus)|
|Last updated on 28 November 2009|
Denman (foaled 17 April 2000) is an Irish bred National Hunt racehorse sired by Presenting.
Denman was bred in County Cork by Colman O'Flynn who also bred his Grade One winning stablemate full brother Silverburn. He was sent to the 2004 Tattersalls Ireland Derby Sale as a four-year-old but this proved fruitless when one of the vets present said that the young store could benefit from a hobday operation on his windpipe.
He was then put in training with former champion jockey Adrian Maguire. Sent to the Duhallow point-to-point at Liscaroll and ridden by leading amateur Colman Sweeney, he was sent off 7/4f to beat 16 rivals, which he duly did by 12 lengths. Tom O'Mahony, scout for Paul Barber (trainer Paul Nicholls' landlord and one of his main owners), was one of those impressed and a deal was soon completed to sell Denman to Paul Barber and legendary punter [Harry Findlay] and send him to Somerset.
Transferred to Paul Nicholls, Denman began his career under rules with two promising if unspectacular novice hurdle victories at Nicholl's local track Wincanton. Denman then burst to life with an outstanding 21 length victory in the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle that was transferred from Newbury to Cheltenham, slamming useful horses such as Boychuk and Ungaro under stable jockey Ruby Walsh.
After an easy novice hurdle victory at Bangor attentions moved on to the Cheltenham Festival for the Grade 1 Royal and Sun Alliance Novice Hurdle where despite a strong field he was sent off a strong 11/10 favourite. Unfortunately he ran a little free and found the Noel Meade trained Nicanor and an inspired Paul Carberry 2 1/2l too hot to handle.
Denman was immediately put away for the winter and all attentions were switched to his novice chasing campaign the next season. Denman won his first four novice chases by a combined total of 59 1/2l jumping beautifully throughout. The Jonjo O'Neill-trained Don't Push It ridden by Tony McCoy was the only horse seriously to threaten Denman, getting to within 3/4l of him after a furious battle up the Cheltenham hill. Most observers felt that Don't Push It was certainly a little flattered to get as close as he did and indeed this was the case.
For a second season in a row, Denman started a warm favourite for his Cheltenham Festival target. His connections resisted the temptation of putting him in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and settled for the Royal and Sun Alliance Novices Chase, for which he was sent off at odds of 6/5. Denman and Ruby Walsh never gave punters a moment's worry, going on from Aces Four at the fourth last fence and storming 10l clear of Irish novice Snowy Morning, giving an exhibition of jumping not seen from a novice in years. He was immediately installed as 4/1 2nd favourite behind his stablemate, the Gold Cup winner Kauto Star for the 2008 Gold Cup. He was put away for the season.
Denman's early season target was the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup at Newbury on the first Saturday of December. Paul Nicholls was unable to get a prep run into him because of the ground throughout the country leading up to the race. Denman's task was huge, as he had to give at least a stone to his rivals in the long handicap racing off a rating of 161. He was also united with a new jockey in Sam Thomas for the first time, Ruby Walsh having dislocated his shoulder in a fall at Cheltenham two weeks previously. What happened next was bordering on unbelievable.
Sent off at odds of 6/1 2nd fav, Denman tracked the leaders early on before being sent on at the water jump by Sam Thomas. From then on it was a procession as Denman cruised 12l clear of Dream Alliance who was in receipt of 18 lb weight. Immediately Denman was cut into 6/4 jf with his illustrious stablemate, and the countdown began to the most anticipated Gold Cup showdown since 1964, when Arkle defeated Mill House.
After a smooth victory at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival in the Grade One Lexus Chase, where he defeated a strong field including Grade One winners The Listener and Beef or Salmon, and a facile 20l victory in the four runner Grade Two Aon Chase, Denman was ready for the big showdown with Kauto Star.
By this stage, after an agonising decision, Paul Nicholls' stable jockey Ruby Walsh had chosen to desert Denman and stay loyal to defending champion Kauto Star in the big race. Sam Thomas was booked for the ride on Denman. Kauto Star had an interrupted preparation but Paul Nicholls was confident that both horses were 100% ready. Opinion throughout England and Ireland was divided on the race and even Ruby Walsh confessed to being uncertain.
Twelve horses went to post for the big race but in most people's eyes only the protagonists were to count. Kauto Star was sent off a well-backed 10/11 favourite, with Denman drifting slightly on the day to 9/4. By this time this strapping old fashioned chaser had the nickname of "The Tank" for his relentless galloping and complete disdain for the fences he jumped. Not for many years had the Cheltenham Gold Cup been the most anticipated race of the Festival, but the press hype was incredible, with scenes of publicity not seen in racing in modern times all over the press, radio, television and the course. Throughout the week the pressure and interest grew. At the off there was a huge cheer and the stands went silent as the knowledgeable crowd got sucked into the sheer drama of a great race. As the tapes rose, Denman was content to track another stablemate, Neptune Collonges (Mick Fitzgerald) in 2nd, with Kauto Star sitting 5l further back in 4th. The race was run at an honest gallop with Denman moving on at the 12th fence. The pace increased a notch and Kauto's jumping was put to the test. He was unable to jump as fluently as Denman and as they approached the 4th last Ruby Walsh was already sending out some distress signals. At the 4th last Kauto Star got his first reminder which gave Denman a chance to pull clear and Denman managed to win by 7 lengths in the big clash.
Denman did not race again during the season.
On 23 September 2008 it was revealed that Denman needed treatment for an irregular heartbeat. After treatment in Newmarket, which was successful, the horse returned to full training. Although entered for a race over hurdles over the Christmas period (in which he did not run), he made his reappearance at Kempton Park on February 7. Despite starting an uneasy odds-on favourite, he finished well beaten in second place after a lacklustre performance, and questions were asked as to whether he would regain his old form. He did not run again before he tried to retain the Gold Cup at Cheltenham in March. 
November 28, 2009 saw the return of Denman in the Hennessy Gold Cup, shouldering 11st 12 lbs and under Ruby Walsh he won in dramatic fashion from stable companion What A Friend who was receiving a remarkable 22 lbs, this was a a memorable victory which stands beside his 2008 gold cup win as highlights of the career of one of a superstar chaser .
However, Denman's preparation for a Gold Cup rematch with Kauto Star took a hit at Newbury on February the 13th, as Denman unseated his rider Tony McCoy, having been sent off as 1/6 favourite. The significance of this failure was not lost on the racing public and press, as McCoy had been booked to ride Denman in the Gold Cup, with Ruby Walsh again choosing to stay loyal to Kauto Star. The previously tight ante-post market for the 2010 Gold Cup clash between the two great rivals changed beyond recognition in reaction to Denman's poor run, with Kauto Star installed as a 4/7 favourite, whilst Denman was pushed out to 4/1. Neither was to win, with Kauto Star falling and Denman being beaten off up the run in by Nigel Twiston-Davies' Imperial Commander.
- ↑ http://www.racingpost.com/news/horse-racing/kauto-star-tricky-trickster-niche-market-master-minded-kauto-4-7-for-gold-cup-after-denman-drama/681894/top/
- pedigreequery.com - Denman's pedigree
- racingpost.com - Denman's race record