Denman wins Gold Cup

Denman destroyed his rivals to win the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup.





Ridden by Sam Thomas, the 9-4 chance took over at the head of affairs with just over a circuit to go and he poured on the pressure up front.



Reigning title-holder Kauto Star looked in trouble coming down the hill but finished well for second, while Neptune Collonges flew for third, giving trainer Paul Nicholls a famous one-two-three.

The eventual third set a decent clip through the early stages but a flying leap from Denman propelled him into the lead at the 11th obstacle.

Thomas was always sitting confidently from that point, while Kauto Star, who had worryingly brushed through a number of fences at that stage, was in a decent rhythm himself.



However, the epic duel the racing world had waited for all season never really materialised as Denman and Thomas gradually turned the screw.



Having appeared to jump the third-last with a mountain to climb, Kauto Star (10-11 favourite) did begin to make some inroads into Denman's lead.



But while the winner's stride began to shorten a touch after the penultimate obstacle, a good jump at the last sealed a seven-length success.



Kauto Star responded to Ruby Walsh's urgings in gutsy style but was under pressure for second late on as Neptune Collonges got to within a short-head at the line.

Thomas told Channel 4 Racing: "I don't know what to say, I'm lost for words again. What a horse.

"He wasn't doing a tap in front, he just stays and stays.



"I went through the race in my head a million times before and it just went absolutely according to plan.



"He's just such a good horse and travelled so well for me."



Nicholls added: "That was brilliant. What a great performance and good for the whole team.



"Going out on the second circuit he was going really well. He's just good.



"The moment I first saw the horse with Paul Barber (joint-owner) we said 'wow'.



"Neptune Collonges has been improving all the time and Kauto ran a good race too, but they were beaten on the day by a better horse. It's brilliant for the whole team."

Barber's partner in Denman is the effervescent professional gambler Harry Findlay, who said: "We had to get the tactics absolutely right to beat our stablemate (Kauto Star).

"Forget about your Grand Prix and your football and your tennis. This was two stablemates. We had to do what we had to do to break the champion.



"All this about conspiracy theories and whatever, we've had to do everything to break Kauto Star's heart and that's what we've done.



"We've gone through the race so many times and we knew what we had to do. It was just brilliant.



"Just like the Hennessy. He had a lovely lead after four fences. We all knew. We knew down the back he was going to win."

Walsh admitted he knew his fate a long way out.

He said: "The best horse on the day won.



"I was struggling past the winning post on the first circuit when Sam picked it up. I just couldn't get there. Well done to them all.



"Denman has gone a good old gallop, but he was going no quicker than they did in the Tingle Creek last season. I always thought Kauto could travel but he didn't today."



Walsh had been in the unenviable position of having to choose which horse to ride and sadly for him got it wrong.



He went on: "If you get it wrong, you get it wrong. I could only ride one. I picked the wrong one and that's racing.



"Of course he (Kauto Star) could come back next year. On any given day any horse can win."



Paddy Power make Denman 7-4 favourite to retain his crown in 2009 with Kauto Star a 4-1 chance.

Kauto Star's owner Clive Smith was magnanimous in defeat.

"It's a great winner for the stable and I'm very pleased for the Denman connections," he said.



"We didn't quite run up to our best, but I'm not saying we might have done any better. Congratulations to the Denman camp.



"Ruby said the horse found the ground a bit tacky and he didn't jump so well. He couldn't get off the ground so well.



"It's an incredible game. You're up one day and down the next. I think we'll have him (Denman) in the rematch in 12 months' time. I'm fine and happy about it."



Suggested Topics
News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
i100

Other places that have held independence referendums
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
news

Sport
footballThe latest scores and Twitter updates from tonight’s games, featuring Bayern Munich vs Man City and Chelsea vs Schalke
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur
film

It scooped up an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards when it was first remade in 1959

News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's starring part
Extras
10 best table lamps
indybest
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager (technical, applications, infrastructure)

£55000 - £60000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: IT Proj...

English Teacher (Bristol and South Gloucestershire)

Negotiable: Randstad Education Bristol: English teachers for day to day cover,...

Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: Year 6 Teacher RequiredThis teaching...

SharePoint Administrator - Bishop's Stortford / Stansted

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: SharePoint Administrator - Bishop's ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week