The 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Denman fell for the first time in his racing career in the Totesport Bowl Chase at Aintree today.

The horse had suffered from heart problems on his return to training this season, but recovered to run second to his stablemate at Paul Nicholls’ yard, Kauto Star, in this year’s Gold Cup last month. He made a bad mistake two fences from home when challenging for the lead and crashed out under jockey Sam Thomas. Denman got up quickly, but was seen to be lame after the finish.

Nicholls said: “I think he has got a cut on one of his legs, and it is not as bad as I first feared. He has gone off for examination so I will know more later.”

The race went to Madison Du Berlais, trained by David Pipe and ridden by Tom Scudamore.

Listen to Tom’s thoughts after the race

Sadly, the second-placed horse, Exotic Dancer, collapsed and died from a heart attack in the racecourse stables after the race. The nine-year-old, trained by Jonjo O’Neill, won the Totesport Bowl in 2007 and has been one of the most consistent and popular staying chasers of recent years.

There was a second equine fatality in the John Smith’s Fox Hunters’. Mel In Blue, trained by Kim Smyly, died after falling at Becher’s Brook. The race was won by Trust Fund, ridden by Tom Greenall and owned by his father, Aintree Racecourse’s chairman Lord Daresbury.