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Page last updated at 18:04 GMT, Sunday, 21 March 2010

Denman could run again this season says Paul Nicholls

Imperial Commander (left) and Denman clear the first fence during Friday's Gold Cup
Denman (right) finished second to Imperial Commander (left) in the Gold Cup

Trainer Paul Nicholls says he has not ruled out running Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Denman again this season.

It had initially been thought that the 10-year-old would sit out the rest of the campaign.

The horse, owned by Paul Barber and Harry Findlay, could run in next month's Totesport Bowl at Aintree or the Punchestown Guinness Gold Cup.

"I'm going to chat with Paul and Harry to see if there is another plan for him this year," said Nicholls.

"He is fine after Friday. I think he looks after himself a little now. He doesn't give himself such a hard race, which is sensible, and he comes out of his races a lot better."

The Ditcheat handler also confirmed that vanquished champion Kauto Star is unscathed after his nasty fall four fences from home at Cheltenham on Friday and will return to action next season.

The odds-on favourite was chasing a third win in the race but it was the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Imperial Commander, ridden by Paddy Brennan, who claimed victory.

Nicholls could now aim Kauto Star at the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day, a race he has won four times in a row.

"Kauto has amazed me because I was a little bit concerned about him on Friday night because he was very hot, very sore and bothered," said the trainer.


"But Saturday morning he was OK and he trotted out 100% sound."

Nicholls admitted he could also be tempted to run dual World Hurdle winner Big Buck's back over fences at some stage in his career.

"Big Buck's fell in a Hennessy but before that he beat Albertas Run in a Grade Two at Aintree, so he's up there with the best on that form," he said.

"It depends what happens with Kauto and co. because Ruby [Walsh] is very important to Big Buck's.

"He is only seven so I suspect we'll go for another World Hurdle and then look at chasing after that, but nothing is set in stone.

"It's nice to have Big Buck's in the background. He's very talented, probably as talented as anything we've got, but he's also been a bit quirky. But you don't mind that."

Meanwhile, Twiston-Davies continued his celebrations on Saturday with a victory parade for Imperial Commander at his local pub, The Hollow Bottom, in the village of Naunton, near Cheltenham.

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see also
Kauto lucky after tumble - Smith
21 Mar 10 |  Horse Racing
Imperial Commander lands Gold Cup
19 Mar 10 |  Horse Racing
Twist in Cheltenham Gold Cup tale
19 Mar 10 |  Horse Racing
Cheltenham day four photos
19 Mar 10 |  Horse Racing
Cheltenham Festival - day four as it happened
19 Mar 10 |  Horse Racing
Llewellyn eyes Imperial Commander
15 Mar 10 |  Horse Racing
Historic Gold Cup win for Kauto
13 Mar 09 |  Horse Racing
Denman storms to Gold Cup victory
14 Mar 08 |  Horse Racing
Kauto Star seals Gold Cup triumph
16 Mar 07 |  Horse Racing
BBC racing coverage
09 Apr 11 |  Horse Racing

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