Denman in pictures: farewell to a National Hunt hero

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  • This week (5 June 2018) we said goodbye to Cheltenham Gold Cup winner and crowd favourite Denman, at the age of 18.

    He shone on the racecourse when trained by Paul Nicholls and was known at home as “The Tank”.

    He had a huge following thanks to his successful racing career, which saw him win 14 of his 24 starts under Rules and earned more than £1m in prize money. Most notably, were his victories in the 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup, plus two wins in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury in 2007 and 2009.

    He was also triumphant in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown in and the RSA Chase at the Festival in 2007 — both ridden by Ruby Walsh.

    Champion trainer Paul Nicholls described him as a “magic horse, who had a tremendous following because of the wholehearted way he went about his racing”.

    After his racing career, Denman went to the yard of Charlotte Alexander, who retrained him to enjoy hunting and team chasing until he was retired fully to live at owner Paul Barber’s Ditcheat farm in 2017.

    Here’s a selection of some of our favourite memories of this much-loved horse…

    1. Ruby Walsh steers Denman to victory in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown in 2007

    Credit: PA Images

    2. Denman (right, under Sam Thomas) and his stablemate Kauto Star (Ruby Walsh) take a look at the first fence ahead of the 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup

    Credit: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

    3. Known as ‘The Tank’ at home, Denman denied Kauto Star three successive Cheltenham Gold Cups by winning the big race in 2008 — giving his jockey, Sam Thomas, his finest moment in the saddle

    Credit: www.trevor-meeks-photography.co.uk

    4. Denman, under Ruby Walsh, wins the 2009 Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury

    Credit: Julian Herbert/Getty Images

    5. Ditcheat trainer Paul Nicholls with his two former stable stars Denman (right) and Kauto Star (left) ahead of the 2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup, in which Denman finished second

    Credit: Photo by Hugh Routledge/REX/Shutterstock

    6. Denman enjoyed his “retirement” team chasing under Charlotte Alexander — here finishing second as part of Team Ride Away in the intermediate class at Pytchley team chase in 2015

    Credit: Paul Carley

    7. Following a fun-filled post-racing career team chasing, Denman returned to his owner Paul Barber’s Ditcheat farm in 2017 for his full retirement

    Credit: Paul Carley

    8. Hedge-hopping: Denman also enjoyed his hunting after being retired from the racetrack — pictured here out with the Bicester with Whaddon Chase

    Credit: Louisa Purvis Photography

    9. Denman and Charlotte Alexander parade in front of racing fans at the 2015 Cheltenham Festival

    Credit: Bill Selwyn

    Continued below…

    Popular 45-year-old jockey retires after +1000 winners during 28-year-career

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    10. Denman enjoys a gallop in front of the Newbury stands ahead of the 2015 Hennessey Gold Cup

    Newbury Racecourse

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