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Page last updated at 07:00 GMT, Thursday, 25 September 2008 08:00 UK

Denman in clear after heart scare

Denman with trainer Paul Nicholls
Trainer Paul Nicholls is convinced Denman can return to form

Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Denman should be fit to defend his crown after treatment for a heart problem.

The horse, trained by Paul Nicholls, was treated in Newmarket for an irregular heartbeat and could return to action at the start of 2009.

Nicholls told the Racing Post: "He's fine, thank goodness, and we're all absolutely delighted.

"He didn't need an operation. He'll have an easy month - we'll start from scratch, building him up quietly."

Denman, who has won 13 of his 14 starts and is unbeaten over fences, will return to Nicholls' yard in Somerset on Friday.

The eight-year-old claimed a famous triumph over stablemate Kauto Star in steeplechasing's blue riband event at Cheltenham in March.

Nicholls will aim the horse, owned by Harry Findlay and Paul Barber, at a repeat victory.

He said Denman was "very unlikely" to run in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown in December, a race which he won last season en route to Cheltenham glory.

"Whether he has one or two runs before the Gold Cup is almost immaterial, but his number-one target, as far as I'm concerned, is the Gold Cup," added the trainer.

see also
Denman laid low by heart problem
20 Sep 08 |  Horse Racing
We'll never sell Denman - Barber
18 Mar 08 |  Horse Racing
Rematch hope for Denman and Kauto
16 Mar 08 |  Horse Racing
Denman the new Cheltenham star
14 Mar 08 |  Horse Racing
Denman storms to Gold Cup victory
14 Mar 08 |  Horse Racing
The Kauto Star story
26 Dec 07 |  Horse Racing

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