Denman’s diary: signing off, one year on

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  • It has been a year since Denman came to me from top National Hunt trainer Paul Nicholls’ yard.  It has been terrific having him: he is such a joy to look after and has learnt so much in such a short time.

    Now we have completed a year, I feel it’s time to sign off his H&H diary.  I will, of course, keep H&H readers up to date with any exciting news that may happen regarding the racing super star.

    Denman is still enjoying his summer holiday and I am looking forward to hunting him again this season. Fingers crossed he should come back to it like a duck to water and will be very well behaved!

    We will soon be exercising across the farm, through stinging nettles and over streams getting fit for the season. I will be getting him up shortly, but for the time being I have my other horses to concentrate on, who will be team chasing in a few weeks time.

    These include a lovely chestnut with four white stockings and a white face from Alan King’s yard called Kahrayn (Kingy).  He is smashing, quite sharp, but jumps like a buck and oozes class.  He is a half brother to Kadarann, who was very successful when trained by Paul (Nicholls).  Kingy will be hard to miss with all his white.

    Kingy and Harlaxton (Harry), who did some pointing, will be team chasing this season. Both horses like it firm and we nearly always have firm ground in the autumn, even if they do aggregate the courses, so you need one that acts on that going.  Consequently, I am not willing to risk Denman on firm ground as he is such a big horse; we will wait for the hunting season as he does take time to get fit.

    One of the jobs I am about to do is to measure Denman’s summer weight. The Beaufort Christmas Fair (26 November) are running a “guess the summer holiday weight” of their celebrity horse, Denman, to raise money for the Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

    The winner will receive a 7-course taster menu cooked by the chef of Sage and Honey cookery school, in their own house (all food included, but mileage applies) and she will even do the tidying up (www.beaufortchristmasfair.com).

    Denman is such a wonderful horse: so brave and full of character.  It has been lovely to share his re-training with the readers of Horse & Hound this past year.  I hope that all riders who have the chance to ride ex-racehorses have as much fun with theirs as I do with mine.


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