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Page last updated at 11:39 GMT, Monday, 9 February 2009

Denman is out of Grand National

Denman in action
Denman was beaten by 23 lengths at Kempton on Saturday

Denman has been scratched from the John Smith's Grand National following his comeback defeat at Kempton on Saturday.

The nine-year-old, returning to action after suffering from a heart problem, was beaten by 23 lengths by Madison Du Berlais in the Levy Board Chase.

Weights for the National, for which Denman was ante-post favourite, will be unveiled on Tuesday.

Madison Du Berlais will race in the Aintree Marathon, which was won last year by Comply Or Die, on 4 April.

Denman was certain to have headed the weights for the National after being among the 123 entries for the 900,000 handicap chase over four-and-a-half miles.

However, connections have decided to give it a miss this year and concentrate on defending his Gold Cup crown.

Denman was favourite for the Cheltenham showpiece on 13 March, but Saturday's loss, his first over fences, has prompted bookmakers to replace him with stablemate Kauto Star, the winner in 2007.

Trainer Paul Nicholls withdrew the horse after speaking with joint owners Harry Findlay and Paul Barber on Sunday night.

It's not that there's anything wrong with him - he's 100% - and he's come out of the race fine

Trainer Paul Nicholls

"He's absolutely fine. I had a chat with Paul and Harry last night and, collectively, we decided it was the right thing to do this year in the circumstances of the run on Saturday," said Nicholls.

"We are just going to concentrate on getting him right for the Gold Cup.

"He's A1 but with the weights coming out on Tuesday, we just wanted to end any speculation and get it sorted out.

"I let the handicapper Phil (Smith) know last night because obviously I didn't want to cause him any unnecessary headaches and to tell him our intentions and we've let everyone know this morning.

"It's not that there's anything wrong with him - he's 100% - and he's come out of the race fine."

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see also
Denman outpaced in comeback race
07 Feb 09 |  Horse Racing
Denman workout pleases Nicholls
15 Jan 09 |  Horse Racing
Denman lined up for National test
05 Jan 09 |  Horse Racing


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