Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Denman has been crowned Horse of the Year at the 2008 Anglo-Irish Jump Awards.
As well as winning the main award of the ceremony, which was held yesterday (12 May) at London’s Café Royal, the Paul Nicholls-trained Denman was hailed as the best chaser over three miles or more as well.
Owned by Margaret Findlay and Paul Barber, Denman picked up the title for his performances in the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup, the Lexus Chase and Aon Chase as well as his strong defeat of stable rival in this year’s highly anticipated Cheltenham Gold Cup dual.
Denman joins Kauto Star, Brave Inca, Moscow Flyer and Best Mate as a holder of the prestigious title.
Owner Clive Smith, who took home four awards for Kauto Star in 2007, did not leave empty handed this year as his top-rated Master Minded won the two-mile chaser award, and Kauto Star took the two-and-a-half-mile chaser title.
Kauto Star also took the Order of Merit — a series of good-quality races in which horses earn points for being placed — for the second successive season, following a toughly fought battle with the David Pipe-trained runner up Lough Derg.
Trainer Howard Johnson and owner Graham Wylie also received more than one trophy with their three-time Cheltenham Festival World Hurdle victor Inglis Drever winning the champion two-and-a-half-mile hurdler award and Arkle Chase winner Tidal Bay being named champion novice chaser.
British Horseracing Authority chairman Paul Roy said: “After the season we have just had, it is good to sit back and take it all in again at an awards ceremony like that.
“It really wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that we are in a golden era for jump racing. Via the major festivals the spirit of competition between the Irish and British is alive and well, and jumping fans on both sides of the Irish Sea have enjoyed a memorable season.”
Champion novice hurdler — Jered
Champion novice chaser — Tidal Bay
Champion two-mile hurdler — Sizing Europe
Champion two-mile chaser — Master Minded
Champion two-and-a-half-mile plus hurdler — Inglis Drever
Champion two-and-a-half-mile-chaser — Kauto Star
Champion three-mile plus chaser — Denman