Can Denman Do The Double In 2010?
Every so often a horse comes along that creates such buzz and hype that you can't help but sit up and take notice and for the last couple of years Denamn has been battling against Kauto Star for this accolade and for very good reason. Denman, nicknamed ?The Tank? is proving that despite his heart scare last year, he is more and more likely to be a sure bet at the Aintree Grand National next year. Having won both the Hennessy and the Cheltenham Gold Cup in the 2007-08 season, he has just pulled off another great feat by winning the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury. In doing so he has become the first horse to win a second Hennessy since Irish chaser Arkle, who won the race in 1964 and 1965 as well as the Cheltenham Gold Cup three years consecutively. The only horse that trainer Paul Nicholls saw as a challenge for Denman for the Hennessy race was What a Friend, who is part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson. Nicholls stated: "I said to Ruby going out that he had one horse to beat if everything went to plan - that one horse was What a Friend and it has turned out exactly like that. To see a run like that from Denman is very, very special." What a Friend was the second of three runners in the race for Nicholls, and he came a very respectable second, but third horse My Will; didn?t do quite so well, finishing seventh out of nineteen runners. The 2009 Grand National winner Mon Mome tailed off when pulled up four out. Denman is usually paired with jockey Sam Thomas and may have been ridden by top Irish jockey Ruby Walsh for this race, but it remains to be seen which of stable-mates Denman and Kauto Star he will choose to ride for the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March ? he had chosen Kauto Star over Denman in the 2007/08 Cheltenham Gold Cup, and Paddy Power are sure Ruby Walsh will remain loyal to Kauto Star this March. They offer 2-9 that Ruby rides Kauto Star and 11-4 Denman. And what a pair to be able to choose from, with Kauto Star will be aiming for a third Gold Cup, and Denman for his second.The Hennessy Gold Cup has arguably been a career best for Denman as he is currently carrying 13 pounds more than when he won the race two years ago. Carrying 11 stone 12 pounds in this race, Denman was bearing 12 pounds more than his nearest rival. However it was his bold jumping and his relentless rhythm that won him the race, and even though it was close between himself and What a Friend at the end, he produced a far better leap than his stable-mate going on gamely all the way to the finishing line, bullying his opponents into submission, winning by three and a half lengths. Denman has already been quoted by some bookmakers as favourite for the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March 2010, while others have quoted Denman and Kauto Star joint favourites. One thing is for sure, it?s enough to put chills of fear into the hearts of every other trainer entering a horse into the Gold Cup and if Nicholls decides that he's going for the double whammy with the 2010 Grand National as well then the racing world could be in for one roller coaster ride over the next few months.