Reflecting on Denman winning the 2009 Hennessy Gold Cup (now Ladbrokes Trophy)


In a generation of brilliant chasers, Denman certainly left his mark on National Hunt racing as one of the figure heads of our great sport.

Arguably only bettered by stablemate and long-time rival Kauto Star, Paul Nicholls’ flying chaser won his fair share of big prizes during his sparkling career.

Known by his legions of fans as The Tank, Denman secured his place in jumping folklore through a string of brilliant performances.

Here’s current assistant trainer to Paul Nicholls, Harry Derham and former assistant trainer to Paul Nicholls, Dan Skelton when Denman won the 2009 Hennessy reflecting on a wonderful race.

The Irish bred chaser made a wonderful first impression on National Hunt racing after winning 14 of his first 15 races, his only blemish coming in the 2006 Cheltenham Festival.

Yet, Newbury racecourse had to wait until 2007 before Denman made his first appearance in the Hennessy Gold Cup Chase (now called the Ladbrokes Trophy)

In what was a fairly large field of 18, Denman oozed class whilst emphasising everything that had endeared him to the British public.

He would go onto to stay unbeaten that season and snatch the Cheltenham Gold Cup from his magnificent stablemate Kauto Star.

He missed the race in 2008 but 2009 marked his reappearance at the Berkshire based track following a season of near misses and another wonderful duel with Kauto Star for Cheltenham’s biggest prize, the Gold Cup.

Nicholls’ charge went off as a well fancied favourite despite carrying a top weight of 11st 12lb.

Jockey Ruby Walsh tracked the leaders throughout before he patiently manoeuvred his superstar to the front whilst Denman’s continued jumping excellence made such a task look easy.

All that was left was for the great champion to show off was his unbelievable desire and speed to beat off competitors carrying over a stone less.

The Tank duly obliged, stretching clear and galloping his competitors into submission as he had done so many times previously.

He would go onto compete in the Ladbrokes Trophy once again in 2010 but could only manage third place.

Once retired in 2011, he spent much of his time competing in team chasing before returning home in 2017.

Sadly, Denman passed away aged 18 in June of this year having lived a fulfilled and happy life at his owner Paul Barber’s property near Ditcheat.

The 21st Century racing icon will forever be remembered for his effervescent attitude towards racing, his sublime win in the 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup, and both the 2007 and 2009 Ladbrokes Trophy victories.


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