Denman “thoroughly enjoyed” being back at the site of one of his most famous victories at the weekend, when he took to the track at Newbury.
The 16-year-old gelding paraded for the crowds at Newbury racecourse on Saturday (13 February) ahead of the race named in his honour, the Grade Two Denman Chase.
“Denman thoroughly enjoyed parading at Newbury – he flew down the course in front of the stands,” his rider Charlotte Alexander told H&H.
“Now he knows where the exit is, he is a little easier to pull up after the winning post!
“We had one hairy moment when circling prior to galloping down the course. He tried to lock onto the white railings and for one moment I thought we were going to jump them.”
The race was won by the Venetia Williams-trained Houblon Des Obeaux, ridden by Aidan Coleman.
As well as winning the Denman Chase (then the Aon) in 2008, Denman also won the Berkshire track’s showpiece race — the Hennessy Gold Cup — twice (2007 and 2009).
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.
“Denman did seem to be in a particularly good mood on Saturday and was totally unfazed when Mr Barber [his owner] suggested that people came into the paddock to pat him,” Charlotte added.
“He stood stock still while his fans including young children made a huge fuss over him. The children loved his soft nose.
“He was rather fresh on exercise this morning (Monday, 15 February) and I expect he will be a bit of a handful out hunting on Saturday.”
Denman is now being prepared for the team chase season, which is due to start in the middle of March.
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“He has been hunting regularly with the Beaufort and had the odd day visiting the Blackmore Vale, Heythrop and Fernie this season,” Charlotte added.
“He has been training with Brian Hutton of Talland in order to make him more careful out hunting.
“This training has definitely helped his jumping and both jockey and horse are now more confident over an upright set of rails!”