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2008 Cheltenham Festival


10 of 10

2008 totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase
2008 totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase

Sam Thomas riding Denman clears the last jump to win the 2008 totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase on day four of the Cheltenham festival at Cheltenham Racecourse

Phil Cole/Getty Images
The highlight race of the Festival is the £450,000 Totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase (G1) for 5-year-olds and up at a distance of 3 5/16 miles over 22 fences. Defending champion Kauto Star was sent off as the 10-11 favorite off his win in the Ascot Chase in February, with Aon Chase winner Denman sent off as the 9-4 second choice. 25-1 shot Neptune Collonges led during the first half of the race, with Denman stalking him in second the whole way, and favorite Kauto Star in third behind those two. At the 12th fence, Denman took over the lead. With 3 jumps remaining, Kauto Star challenged for the lead but Denman pulled away through the last 2 jumps and the length of the stretch to win by 7 in a running time of 6:47.84. It was just a short head back to Neptune Collonges third.

Winning jockey Sam Thomas said, "He's never really had the gun to his head in a top-class race. There is still room for improvement. He's the best, quite unbelievable. With the rain falling it was a big plus. I would not have swapped him for the world. I have always been a big Denman fan and am even more so now."

Trainer Paul Nicholls, who trained the top three finishers added, "The best horse won on the day. Denman was awesome. I am proud of all three horses today."

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