The thrill of seeing Denman in action on the racecourse might be over, but fans of 'The Tank' will be glad to hear that he's been taking centre stage once again to pose for a new bronze (which has taken 300 hours to make already)...
The former giant of jump racing Denman, who retired from racing in 2011, is being immortalised as a bronze by sculptor Tristram Lewis.
The edition of 12 sculptures will be launched on 8 March at The Osborne Studio Gallery in London, the week before this year’s Cheltenham Festival (14-17 March 2017), where Denman found fame when he won the Gold Cup in 2008.
The creative process has so far taken Wiltshire-based Tristam 300 hours — and the maquette has already won the heart of owner Paul Barber (below). It is being cast in bronze at Castle Foundry in Stroud, Gloucestershire.
“I think the key to this story is that Denman really captured the public’s imagination, outside racing as well, partially due to his great rivalry with stable mate Kauto Star,” says Geoffrey Hughes, director of The Osborne Studio Gallery.
“However it was also due to him being an old fashion-style chaser — big and brave with a huge heart, he never gave up and was a superb jumper.
“He won over a million pounds in prize money and his ownership was also somewhat romantic. His owners could not have been more different; Paul Barber a well-known farmer and horse breeder (a true countryman) and Harry Findlay a maverick and professional gambler — they got on well together, but it all contributed to the story of Denman,” adds Geoffrey.
“‘The Tank’, as he was fondly known was considered in the same vein as Red Rum, Arkle and Desert Orchid with his ability to be successful in the big races over many seasons. Quite a rare feat!”
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Tristram has hunted for 30 years and his horses at home in Wiltshire usefully double up as models. He has a particular understanding of the subtle differences in character and bone structure between one horse and another, and is also currently completing the first fully-illustrated biography of Sir Alfred Munnings.