National Hunt hero Denman has started his full retirement after enjoying a fun-filled post-racing career.

The 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, formerly trained by Paul Nicholls, ended his career on the track in 2011 after winning 14 of his 24 starts.

He moved to Charlotte Alexander’s yard in 2012, where she retrained him to enjoy hunting, team chasing and grassroots eventing.

The 17-year-old, whose real birthday* is today (17 April), went home to owner Paul Barber’s Ditcheat farm last week where he will be looking after the young horses out in the field.

He will never want for anything,” Charlotte told H&H, adding that Paul’s head lad Clifford Baker has a view from his window over Denman’s new field.

“He will have the best possible care.”

Known as “The Tank”, the popular chaser excelled in his new life off the track.

“He has just been the most fabulous hunter,” said Charlotte.

“He was absolutely incredible. His jumping just went from strength to strength — Brian Hutton at Talland helped me hugely with that.

“He is marvellous — such a gentleman and he oozed quality when you rode him.”

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The son of Presenting also made numerous appearances in Retraining of Racehorses parades at major fixtures, most recently visiting the 2017 Cheltenham Festival and Grand National meeting.

As Denman starts the new phase of his life, so too does long-serving National Hunt hero Silviniaco Conti, who arrived at Charlotte’s yard three days ago.

The seven-time Grade One winner, who was also in training with Paul, ran his final race at Aintree on 6 April and was retired from the track the same day.

“He is out with my other horses in the field and having a holiday,” said Charlotte.

“He looks amazing — Paul looks after his horses so well, he looks an absolute picture.”

She added the plan is to take him hunting, which they already know he enjoys, team chasing and potentially some eventing.

“Whatever suits him — he will tell me what he wants to do,” said Charlotte.

*All thoroughbreds’ official birthdays are 1 January.

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