Horse racing: Barber proud of Denman after brave Hennessy bid

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 a 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 two stone. Denman's owner Paul Barber visited the 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero in his stable on Saturday night and said: "It was wonderful to be part of it all. He ran a great race, but you have to take your hat off to the horses that were ahead of us. They may have only carried 10 stone, but they ran good races."

While Denman might not run before the Gold Cup in March, Diamond Harry may have just the one outing.

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The Nick Williams-trained second-season chaser, carrying the colours of the Paul Duffy Diamond Partnership, could 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.

Ferdy Murphy reports Big Fella Thanks none the worse for his early exit from the Hennessy. The eight-year-old was towards the rear of the field when he fell at the third fence, but the West Witton trainer said: "There's not a mark on him. He's perfect."