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Denman in fine fettle

Denman was reported to be in mint condition following his heroics in the Hennessy Gold Cup.

The Paul Nicholls-trained 10-year-old may have failed to land an historic third win in the Newbury showpiece, but lost nothing in defeat when taking minor honours behind Diamond Harry and Burton Port, who were receiving the best part of 2st.

Denman's owner Paul Barber took time to visit the 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero in his stable on Saturday night. "It was wonderful to be part of it all," said Barber.

"He ran a great race, but at the time you have to take your hat off to the horses that were ahead of us.

"They may have only carried 10st, but they ran good races.

"My wife and I went down to see Denman at 10 o'clock when we got in.

"He ate his Polo mints, said thank you very much and looked fabulous.


"We've known all season that he's got his old enthusiasm back.

"It was a wonderful race to watch and to be part of it. The atmosphere there was absolutely tremendous I thought. It was great."

Denman will now have a break and be prepared for another crack at the Gold Cup in March.

"That's the intention," Barber added.

While Denman will not run before then, Diamond Harry may have just the one outing.

The Nick Williams-trained second-season chaser, carrying the colours of the Paul Duffy Diamond Partnership, might go for the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas or to Cheltenham for the trials meeting in January.

"Where we go next, Nick and I will debate," said Duffy. "We definitely don't want more than one run and we'll go for the Gold Cup now.

"We have to go for it, really, but what do we do between now and then?

"He might be entered for the Lexus. There are several options, and one of them is to go straight for the Gold Cup as he goes so well fresh."

Ferdy Murphy reports Big Fella Thanks none the worse for his early exit from the Hennessy.

The eight-year-old, owned by Harry Findlay who used to have Denman with Barber, was towards the rear of the field when he fell at the third fence.

"There's not a mark on him. He's perfect. He ate up last night and had a lead out," said the trainer.

"I'm not sure what we'll do next. I'll have a word with Harry during the week then we'll make a plan."

Noel Meade might get Pandorama back on the course at Christmas after a series of mishaps forced Paul Carberry to pull him up quite early in the race.

"He's just got back and seems OK," said the Co Meath trainer. "It was just most unfortunate. He made a bad mistake at the second fence, ran into the fallers at the fourth, then he made another mistake at the next.

"I'd doubt he'd go for the Durkan (Punchestown) now -- we'll probably wait. We might run him at Christmas, but I haven't thought about it yet."