Denman was among former stars of the racetrack on show on Tuesday (15 March) at the Cheltenham Festival.

A parade of ex-racehorses, organised by Retraining of Racehorses (RoR), took place ahead of the first race of the 2016 Festival.

Denman’s rider Charlotte Alexander said the 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner was thrilled to be back at the site of his most famous victory.

The 16-year-old gelding was on his toes in the paddock as he paraded for his fans.

“Denman lapped up the atmosphere,” Charlotte told H&H.

“I also met his breeder Colman O’Flynn, which was lovely for me. He came and gave Denman a pat and was delighted to see him as Denman is the same age as his daughter.”

Denman, who was trained by champion trainer Paul Nicholls in Somerset, has been based with Charlotte Alexander in Gloucestershire since 2012.

The popular chaser has settled in nicely to a new career in hunting and team chasing in his retirement. Last year he won his first rosette, finishing second in a team chase.

Young British eventer Chelsea Pearce was aboard 2008 Grand National hero Comply Or Die (pictured below) in the parade.

Former Grand National winner Comply or Die parades before racing 15-3-16

Chelsea described riding in the famous paddock as a “wonderful experience”.

“I felt very honoured to ride Comply Or Die,” she told H&H. “A huge thank you to [jockey] Timmy Murphy for this opportunity, one I will cherish for so long.

“It is great to see the retired racehorses excelling at another discipline; having retired in 2011, Comply Or Die has been very successful in the dressage arena with Verity Green and also enjoys life on the hunting field.”


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Also taking part in the parade was Champion Hurdle winner Punjabi (pictured below). After retiring from racing in 2013, Punjabi started his new life with Rachael Kempster at Kinsale stud.

Punjabi_18 and Rachel Kempster

“He is one of the easiest thoroughbreds I have ever had to deal with,” said Rachael.

The pair have recently starting competing in dressage and Punjabi is “adapting well” to his new job.

Tranquil Sea, the winner of the 2009 Paddy Power Gold Cup, was also be on show after finding a new career in the eventing field with Clemmie Shipp.

From France comes the former Francois Doumen-trained Kasbah Bliss and from Ireland the 2010 Arkle winner Sizing Europe who since retiring last May has won in the show ring.

The RoR parades were introduced in 2008 by the charity to showcase the adaptability of racehorses when retrained for a second career.

“It is important for us when putting on the parades to not only include former heroes and old favourites but also horses that have proven their adaptability in other disciplines. We are delighted to have a parade line-up this year that has strength in depth in both categories – 10 class racehorses, each one now excelling in another activity,” said Di Arbuthnot of the RoR.