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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Denman shines in heroic defeat

Well, he didn’t win the Hennessy for the third time. But didn’t he put in a great effort in his attempt to concede so much weight to his younger rivals?

As to pointers towards next year’s Gold Cup, the one to take out of the race could be second-placed Burton Port, who has some good Festival form to his name having finished second in last year’s RSA Chase. Denman will be 11 next March and it's hard to see him winning the Gold Cup at that age, (though it would bring the house down if he did), and while Diamond Harry was excellent yesterday, he did flop in the RSA at the Cheltenham Festival last year.
Anyway, what a great race we saw yesterday. If the Gold Cup is half as exciting as the Hennessy was, we're in for a real treat.


Robin Carmody said...

Agreed. It was a wonderful race, perhaps especially so at the moment when I genuinely thought Denman might do it - as Alastair Down said on C4, the real winner was racing.

I must say I'm impressed by how far jump racing has come in a comparatively short time - it's not all *that* long since it was widely seen as an inconsequential rural pastime which filled the gaps between The Real Thing in the warmer months. To some extent, this might counter some of your own Jeremiads re. globalisation and the passing of time: in an age of intensified global competition, something most of the rest of the world doesn't do, such as jump racing, may well gain in popularity in one country as against something almost the whole world does, such as flat racing - national distinctions will become more valued when there are fewer of them. Also, it is easier for something that doesn't have the burden of past mass popularity to gain in strength today than it is for something that does have that painful legacy - it will be very hard to create a coherent flat narrative such as jump racing has managed to do *almost by accident*, or at the very least without trying too hard, partially because of the global competition on the flat, but also because of unrealistic expectations based on vague memories of what flat racing meant in a quite different world, when jump racing - which has now broadened its appeal tremendously - was little more than a hunters' pastime.

Anyway, a great day.

Neil Clark said...

Hi Robin,
Agreed- we're not in the 'Golden Age' of too many things in Britain today (certainly not in tv), but we are in a Golden Age of jump racing.

Robin Carmody said...

Until comparatively recently (within the great scope of racing history) there weren't too many conditions jump races of great significance or value - in the 1950s, even the King George wasn't run at level weights, and chasers of Galloway Braes' calibre had to carry 12st 7lb against nonentities in mediocre handicaps. And in the early 1960s, as far as I can make out, even vastly substandard Derby winners such as Psidium or Larkspur would be better known, in their respective years, among much of the non-specialist public than chasers as great as Pas Seul, Saffron Tartan and Mandarin ...

Television did a lot to boost jump racing in its early years as a mass medium, though I often wonder what might have happened to NH had Arkle not come along when he did.