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Page last updated at 13:08 GMT, Monday, 5 January 2009

Denman lined up for National test

Denman is chasing an elusive racing double

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has indicated Gold Cup winner Denman could run in this year's Grand National.

Denman will defend his Cheltenham Gold Cup title on 13 March before tackling Aintree's famous fences on 4 April.

Nicholls wrote in the Racing Post: "The more I thought about it the more it makes sense while he's in his prime."

Denman would aim to emulate Golden Miller, who remains the only horse to have landed the two big races in the same year with twin triumphs in 1934.

The nine-year-old, who has not raced because of a fibrillating heart since storming to a seven-length success in the 2008 Gold Cup, has been earmarked for a return to action in February.

And Nicholls has come round to the idea of taking Denman to Liverpool after Phil Smith, the British Horseracing Association's head of handicapping, lowered the top weight for the race by 2lb to 11st 10lb.

Smith said: "It's very exciting news for the race and obviously it will make me think a bit. It's the culmination of everything we have been trying to achieve for the last 10 years as we have been trying to get the better horses to run.

"Ten years ago, the highest-rated horse in the race was 150 and now it could be 182 so it is really fantastic.

"At the bottom end, the lowest-rated horse was in 1999 was 110 and last year it was 138 so the race has improved by two stone in 10 years.

"I suggested they dropped the top weight to 11st 10lb from 11st 12lb and that has been accepted by everyone and obviously that has encouraged Denman's connections.

"Obviously all the news is about Denman, but I suspect there will be a lot of other exceptionally good horses in there as well.

"Denman's entry will make the race, but I also think the race will be the making of Denman so it is great news all round."

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see also
Denman may be out until February
08 Oct 08 |  Horse Racing
Denman in clear after heart scare
25 Sep 08 |  Horse Racing
Rematch hope for Denman and Kauto
16 Mar 08 |  Horse Racing
Nicholls elated after Denman victory
14 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

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