‘Fitting tribute to his iron will’: Newbury to unveil memorial gates in Denman’s honour

Legendary chaser Denman will be remembered with a specially commissioned set of memorial gates at Newbury racecourse.

The National Hunt hero is the only horse since Arkle to win two runnings of the Hennessy Gold Cup, which has now been renamed the Ladbrokes Trophy, taking victory in 2007 and 2009.

The wrought iron gates, which bear his name and the dates of his two Hennessy victories, and were created by equine sculptor Charlie Langton with local blacksmith Guy Clarkson.

They will be officially opened on 9 February, Betfair Super Saturday, on the day of the 2019 Betfair Denman Chase.

Denman and Ruby Walsh en route to winning the 2009 Hennessy. Credit: Getty Images

Trainer Paul Nicholls said the gates are a fitting memorial to the horse’s “iron will”.

“Denman was an awesome horse who the public came to love because of his wholehearted approach to racing,” he said.

He was a formidable competitor, particularly at Newbury where he won five times. He had an iron will and it feels appropriate that he is to be remembered with this magnificent set of gates.”

Affectionately nicknamed “The Tank”, the 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner was owned by Paul Barber and the late Margaret Findlay.

He won 14 of his 24 starts under Rules, amassing more than £1.14 million in prize money.

After his retirement from racing in 2011, Denman was retrained by Charlotte Alexander and enjoyed hunting, team chasing, eventing and taking part in Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) parades.

He fully retired from ridden work in 2017 and lived out his days at Paul Barber’s Ditcheat farm until his death last June.

Mr Barber said he is touched that Newbury has chosen to permanently commemorate Denman in “such a fitting way”.

“Put simply, he was a horse of a lifetime,” he added.

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Harry Findlay, son of Denman’s late co-owner Margaret Findlay, said: “This is a fitting tribute for the immortal equine tank.

“National Hunt racing has the most educated support in the world and the knowledgeable rapport and banter with the punters after his two Hennessy wins at Newbury were something I will never forget,”he said, adding Denman “more than left his mark” on Newbury.

Newbury racecourse chief executive Julian Thick said Denman meant a lot to “so many”.

“He is synonymous with Newbury, marked by two Hennessy Gold Cup wins, a runaway win in what is now the renamed Denman Chase as well as two novice chases,” he said.

“We are looking forward to welcoming those who were associated with him to officially open the gates and are delighted to have commissioned an appropriate and permanent way of remembering a very special horse.”

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