14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Denman set for Newbury paradeHeadlines

Denman will make his first public appearance on a racecourse since his retirement when he parades before the race which bears his name at Newbury on February 9.

The sponsors named the old Aon Chase as the Betfair Denman Chase in his honour last year, but the giant liver-chestnut was unable to appear as he was still recovering from the minor tendon injury which ended his career.

The Cheltenham Gold Cup and dual Hennessy hero is still owned by Paul Barber but is being cared for by Charlotte Alexander, who takes him hunting.

Newbury managing director Stephen Higgins said: "Our racegoers will be delighted to see Denman at Newbury again. He won five of his seven races here and was always so popular. I'm sure he'll be given a very warm welcome on his return."

Alexander is having an enjoyable time looking after the star name, and said: "He came to my yard in the Cotswolds and to begin with we did loads of road work to harden up his legs.

"Whilst still doing the walking and trotting, I introduced him to riding across country, through fields of sheep, opening and shutting gates, and getting into grass fields and just walking across them. Once he had done the basic fitness work, we started jumping, and I then introduced him to hounds.

"He was quite wild to begin with, rearing and fly-leaping and charging off, but each time I took him out, he got calmer and calmer, stopped pulling so hard and realised what was going on. Now he is very settled.

"Denman has a superb jump and is incredibly athletic. Paul Nicholls, Dan Skelton and Clifford Baker have really done an amazing job on teaching him to jump. He loves hunting and is terrific across country, very bold and has amazing scope and is incredibly careful.

"I am hoping to introduce him to team chasing in the spring, but one thing at a time and, as with all ex-racehorses, you need to take them very slowly and steadily, like a four-year-old. It is all so new for them.

"But Denman is charming to look after, loves attention and his only dislike is being clipped. He is a true gentleman."

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