Join Together keeps the Denman colours flying

A day after the great champion is retired, six-year-old shows chasing promise

It is said that the best way to find a winner is to forget the formbook, just follow the script. And here yesterday, just a day after the retirement of one Gold Cup winner, Denman, was announced, the colours the great horse carried so bravely and so often up this daunting climb to the finish were back in the winner's circle. The novice chaser Join Together is no champion yet, nor may ever be, but there was no doubting the poignancy of his success.

As the six-year-old sailed boldly over the last obstacle and forged clear, the faithful in the grandstands, perfectly aware of the serendipitous timing, gave a heartfelt roar of approval. Paul Nicholls, trainer of both horses, summed up their, his and owner Paul Barber's, feelings. "This one was for Denman," he said.

Barber, that hard-headed West Country businessman, welcomed his young warrior with moist eyes. "This is incredibly emotional for me," he said. "I couldn't have wished for anything better than to have a winner here just 24 hours after we had to make the decision about Denman. You just couldn't have written it."

Denman, who will remain in his own box at Nicholls' Somerset yard to nurse his tweaked tendon and wind down, won the RSA Chase on his way the top. The progressive Join Together now has that three-miler as his Festival target, though rider Ruby Walsh cast a small shower of realism over his prospects. "He jumps very well and he stays," he said, "but will he be quick enough? Only time will tell."

Join Together was one of the last pair of horses sold by famed Co Clare talentspotter Tom Costello before his death two years ago. The other, his stablemate Deireadh Re, also won here yesterday, though fortuitously. He was gifted the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle after Sea Of Thunder, a long way clear and galloping powerfully, misjudged the last and came down. But despite his mishap he is still in the betting for the equivalent contest back here in March.

The rest of the bright winter afternoon belonged to Nicholls' chief rival for this season's trainers' title, Nicky Henderson who, along with stable jockey Barry Geraghty, notched a 34-1 treble. First up was 6-1 shot Quantatitiveeasing, whose turbo-boost up the final hill as he arrowed between Medermit and Roudoudou Ville turned the finish of the afternoon's feature handicap chase, the Spinal Research Atlantic 4 Gold Cup, into a compelling spectacle.

Then over the smaller obstacles Grandouet and Oscar Whiskey strengthened their Festival claims in the International and Relkeel Hurdles respectively. Grandouet, on whom Geraghty always looked confident as he shadowed trailblazer Overturn and Menorah, was impressive as he strode four lengths clear. "We knew what we had to do," said Henderson, "which was to let Menorah take us to Overturn, and then wait as long as possible."

Grandouet's performance confirmed his place in Henderson's Champion Hurdle squad alongside former king Binocular, primed for the Christmas Hurdle, and youngster Spirit Son, due out in the new year. "There are some serious hurdlers there to shoot at," added Henderson, "so it's maybe just as well we've got plenty of ammunition."

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
film
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
News
peopleWarning - contains a lot of swearing
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
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

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - West London

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: WEST LONDON - An excellent new opportunity wit...

Recruitment Genius: Florist Shop Manager

£8 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A Florist Shop Manager is required to m...

Recruitment Genius: Appointment Maker / Telesales

£15000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading supplie...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Field Sales Executive - Dereham

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This organisation is proud to b...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project