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Page last updated at 16:37 GMT, Tuesday, 30 March 2010 17:37 UK

Denman set to race in Scottish National

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

Denman is likely to run in the Scottish National, the 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner's owners have revealed.

The popular 10-year-old, runner-up in the last two Gold Cups, has been allotted top weight of 11st 12lb for the 17 April showpiece at Ayr.

Ruling out the Aintree Totesport Bowl, joint-owner Paul Barber said: "Ayr is virtually certain if the ground is soft. It has to be on the soft side.

"But if the ground is fast, or even good, he will not be running."

Trainer Paul Nicholls also spoke of his intention to prepare the horse for Scotland following discussions with jockey Ruby Walsh and Denman's other joint-owner Harry Findlay.

"I had a chat with Ruby, Paul and Harry and we decided it was the obvious race to go for," he told the Racing Post.

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Another possibility for the horse is the Guinness Gold Cup at the Punchestown Festival, also in April.

And, analysing the options, Barber said: "Aintree has no chance and Punchestown has got some chance if the ground is right.

"Ayr would have as good a chance as anywhere, but it's all on the ground - he might end up not running in any.

"At that time of year it can come up quick at Ayr and if it's quick ground, he won't be there."

David Pipe's Madison Du Berlais is the second highest-rated contender and would carry 10st 1lb, while other notable contenders include Lucinda Russell's Haydock Blue Square Gold Cup winner Silver By Nature.

Nicholls has five other entries, including Big Fella Thanks.

Lindsey Smith, Ayr marketing manager, said: "What a great boost it is for the Scottish Grand National that Denman is amongst the entries.

"It underlines the standing the race has in the racing calendar and if Paul Nicholls does declare him it will create an unprecedented interest in the race."



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see also
Denman could race again in April
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Kauto lucky after tumble - Smith
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Imperial Commander lands Gold Cup
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Twist in Cheltenham Gold Cup tale
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Cheltenham day four photos
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Cheltenham Festival - day four as it happened
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Llewellyn eyes Imperial Commander
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Historic Gold Cup win for Kauto
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Denman storms to Gold Cup victory
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Kauto Star seals Gold Cup triumph
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BBC racing coverage
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