Denman's Hennessy prep
Denman has been installed as 1-2 favourite for the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup at Leopardstown next month. The Paul Nicholls-trained 10-year-old will either travel here on February 7 or go to Newbury a week later for the Aon Chase as his prep for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
"The prospect of seeing Denman in Ireland is mouthwatering and his Newbury Hennessy win confirmed he is a class apart, even in what looks like a good Leopardstown field," said David Williams of Ladbrokes.
"If Paul Nicholls decides the Irish Hennessy is the target Denman could well go off even shorter than the 1-2 we've chalked up."
Next best in the betting at 4-1 among a field of 17 is Paul Nolan's Joncol and the Nicky Richards-trained Money Trix, third and second respectively last time out in the Lexus Chase.
Tony McCoy, meanwhile, has quashed speculation that he has been offered the ride on Denman at Cheltenham in March.
Paul Nicholls' 10-year-old would be seeking to become only the second horse to regain the Gold Cup.
With Ruby Walsh likely to stick with Kauto Star, a new rider will be needed for his big rival unless connections once again call on Sam Thomas or Christian Williams.
Asked if he had been offered the ride in the Gold Cup, McCoy said: "Certainly not. I'm sure whoever does get the ride will be very lucky. I'd certainly gladly appreciate it if it did happen.
"His performance in the Hennessy was second to none. If they (Denman and Kauto Star) both get there it will make for a great race."
Nicholls welcomed in his first winner of 2010 as The Minack, ridden by Walsh, capitalised on Kennel Hill's waywardness in the Novices' Hurdle at Kempton yesterday.
The 13-8 favourite was in control until downing tools over the final couple of flights, which allowed Walsh to streak past aboard the 9-4 winner and inflict an eight-length beating.
"I knew he would go in the ground and he is one for the future," said Nicholls. "Ruby said to miss Cheltenham this year and try to win a decent novice somewhere else."