20100321

Racing giants fail to follow Powell's script

With a book on the epic horse racing rivalry of Denman and Kauto Star due for publication in August, the Cheltenham Gold Cup did not follow the script that author Jonathan Powell had in mind when Kauto Star fell and Denman found himself outrun by Imperial Commander.

We can probably discount any thoughts that the two great stable companions might now be retired, however, even if the blue riband of jump racing has passed to another.

Kauto Star's frightening nosedive appears to have left no lasting damage and though he will be 11 years old by the time the 2011 Cheltenham Festival comes around, jockey Ruby Walsh sees no reason why he should not be backed to regain the Gold Cup for a second time.

Trainer Paul Nicholls observed that "we all get a bit slower" with the passing years but Walsh said: "He got knocked down before and stood up again. Why shouldn't he be back at Cheltenham next year?"

Denman, meanwhile, may try to become only the third horse in history to win a Grand National as well as a Gold Cup, joining Golden Miller and L'Escargot in racing legend.  Owner Harry Findlay reportedly has it in mind to tackle the four-and-a-half mile Aintree marathon next year.

Powell, the racing correspondent of the Mail on Sunday, has written or ghosted a number of books, including trainer Nicholls' acclaimed Lucky Break, which was shortlisted for best autobiography in the recent British Sports Book Awards.

Pre-order Kauto Star and Denman (Orion, August 2010)

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