Denman delighted fans at Newbury on Saturday (7 February), showing he’d lost none of his old enthusiasm as he galloped up the track.
The 15-year-old gelding paraded in the paddock before racing, and then led runners out before the race named in his honour — the Denman Chase.
“Denman was immaculately behaved, even if a touch on his toes. He revels in all the attention,” his rider Charlotte Alexander told H&H.
“He adores galloping in front of the stands with the roar of the crowd cheering him on.
“He clearly enjoyed it and was full of himself, as the day after he decided to take me on a gallop that was a bit longer than I had originally planned!”
Denman, who now lives in Gloucestershire with Charlotte, has been settling into a new career and is a popular sight on the hunting field this season.
As well as winning the Denman Chase (then the Aon) in 2008, the gelding also won the Berkshire track’s showpiece race — the Hennessy Gold Cup — twice (2007 and 2009).
“Denman loved being back at Newbury where he was admired by all his fans,” added Charlotte.
The National Hunt hero also won the 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup when in training with Paul Nicholls in Somerset.
“It was lovely for him to see his old Ditcheat team — Lucinda Gould [who looked after him when at Paul’s] along with Donna [head girl], Paul and Georgie [Nicholls] and Dan Skelton [who was assistant trainer at the time],” added Charlotte.
“However, the best treat was to see Paul and Marianne Barber [Denman’s owners] who always love seeing Denman and ply him with copious amounts of polos and spoil him rotten.”
The Denman Chase was won by Coneygree and H&H columnist Richard Johnson.
“A lot of people appreciated seeing Denman and he looked really well,” said Richard.
“It’s fantastic seeing a horse enjoying his second career so much. He was known as The Tank and he’d clearly lost none of his enthusiasm when he powered along in front of the stands.”