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Denman bows out





Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Denman has been retired after suffering a setback in his preparation for the Lexus Chase.

The Paul Nicholls-trained 11-year-old was due to make his seasonal reappearance in the December 28 feature at Leopardstown but a tendon problem has scuppered those plans and ended his career.

"It is with great regret that I have to announce the retirement of Denman. A scan yesterday afternoon revealed tiny damage to his near fore tendon, so this morning marks the end of an era for Ditcheat," Nicholls told his Betfair column.

"Denman was great on Wednesday morning as he worked towards his intended start in the Lexus later this month, but he pulled up a little bit sore yesterday morning and Clifford (Baker, head lad) wasn't happy with him.

"So we called Buffy (our vet) in to scan him at 4pm yesterday afternoon, and that revealed the problem with his near fore tendon. We immediately informed his owner Paul Barber who, after consulting those close to him, took the decision to retire him. It was the only course of action to take.

"We are all devastated here at Ditcheat but Denman has given us some wonderful moments on the track, winning a Gold Cup, finishing runner-up in three more, as well as winning two Hennessys, a Lexus and a SunAlliance Chase.

"He will be given an honourable retirement. But for the immediate future and to help his great friend Kauto Star, he will be kept in his box next to Kauto for the rest of season. Denman will always be a legend here at Ditcheat."