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Horse Racing

Denman is back! Cheltenham Gold Cup winner to return at Kempton on Saturday

Friday 6th February 2009

The on-off saga of 2008 totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Denman's long-awaited return to the track nears a conclusion with an 8am Saturday inspection standing between the racing public and a sight one of Jumping's current icons back in competitive action for the first time since his big day back in March.

Denman's expected domination of the staying chase division was held up in late summer when a lacklustre response to early-season training led to routine veterinary examination - atrial fibrillation was quickly diagnosed and treated, with racing fans everywhere keeping fingers and toes crossed the big chestnut would return as good as ever.

With trinaer Paul Nicholls and connections understandably anxious to get a suitable prep race into the big horse before another tilt at the Gold Cup the racing authorities, sponsors and televison companies should be appluaded for the quick thinking which sees the abandoned Aon Chase switched to Kempton, now run as the Levy Board Chase at 2.50pm.

It's fair to say Kempton is far less likely to suit Denman than Newbury, a left handed galloping track is certainly a good deal more up his street than the right handed speed track he faces at the Sunbury venue, but nonetheless he's impossible to oppose on his favoured soft ground if back to his very best.

One horse who will love conditions and is thriving at present after a recent Cheltenham win is Joe Lively, and he'll be on the premises if Denman isn't on his game.

That said, if ever there was a no bet race this is the one - let's be content to see Denman back in one piece and save your powder for March 13th!

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