Denman fighting fit after Hennessy win

Denman fighting fit after Hennessy win

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls reports Denman to be in rude health following his heroics in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury last weekend.

The nine-year-old had an interrupted campaign last season after suffering from a fibrillating heart, but showed he was back to his best when carrying top-weight to Hennessy glory for the second time, beating stablemate What A Friend.

Nicholls cannot believe how well his charge has come out of such a gruelling assignment but is in no rush to get him back on the racecourse.

“It appears he’s back to his very best and he was fine the next morning. I thought he’d be really tired, but he has probably come out of this as well as any race,” Nicholls told Channel 4 Racing.

“He’s cantered the last few days and we’re not going to be in any rush with him now, but it has amazed me how he has come out of the race. He was given a full MOT on Tuesday by our vet and everything is A1.”

Nicholls has always insisted Denman and his stablemate Kauto Star are different but while the latter is unlikely to run in a race like the Hennessy, Nicholls admits he would expect the same result.

“Denman and Kauto Star are totally different horses and I possibly wouldn’t have run Kauto in the Hennessy under top-weight as the King George is a much more suitable race for him,” the trainer continued.

“But I would have to say, with what I know, I think Kauto probably would have beaten What A Friend at this stage of What A Friend’s career. He stays and has won two Gold Cups, so why shouldn’t he have won?”

Kauto Star’s next assignment will be to bid for a remarkable fourth success in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, and his trainer is delighted with his current condition.

“He’s been cantering every day and is back in to three weeks of full work now,” added Nicholls.

“We couldn’t be happier with him and since his run at Haydock he has bloomed and it has definitely improved him immensely.”

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