Denman hoping to follow the Star

OWNER Paul Barber is keeping his fingers crossed Denman can take a leaf out of old rival Kauto Star’s book when he returns to action at Leopardstown next month.

The 11-year-old Kauto Star rolled back the years to defeat younger champion Long Run with an imperious performance in Saturday’s Betfair Chase after many had written him off.

Stablemate Denman is the same age and in a similar boat, but he too has been pleasing trainer Paul Nicholls ahead of his intended comeback in the Lexus Chase.

“He’s looking great at the moment and enjoying life,” said Barber.

“Paul is very pleased with how he’s been going at home and if we can manage to get him to Leopardstown in the same form as Kauto Star was at Haydock on Saturday that will be wonderful.

“He’s doing everything right at the moment and we look forward to the Lexus Chase.”

Meanwhile, the Nicholls-trained Aiteen Thirtythree features among 19 confirmations for the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury on Saturday.

The seven-year-old made a highly encouraging seasonal reappearance when second to Somersby at Kempton.

Nicholls’ Neptune Collonges tops the weights, while stablemate Michel Le Bon is an interesting contender having not run since winning a novice chase at this meeting two years ago.

David Pipe’s Paddy Power Gold Cup hero Great Endeavour could bid for his second prestigious handicap of the season, while Wymott is a major player for Donald McCain.

Muirhead is an intended runner and trainer Noel Meade admits he is pleased Neptune Collonges is set to take his chance, meaning his charge will carry 10st 4lb.

“It looks as though he’s going to get in with a nice racing weight. That will definitely help him as he’s not a very big horse, “ said Meade. “I was happy with how he ran in Ascot the last day and he was a bit unlucky with a horse falling in front of him.

“If it’s good ground at Newbury that would be perfect.”

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