Brilliant steeplechaser Denman dies

Brilliant steeplechaser Denman has been put down at the age of 18 his trainer Paul Nicholls has announced.

The winner of four Grade One races including the 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup had deteriorated and the decision was made to euthanise him.

"The decision was taken by his devoted owner Paul Barber with the full support of myself, our head lad Clifford Baker and our vet Buffy Shirley-Beavan," Nicholls said.

"We all agreed it was the right thing to do because he had begun to go downhill in the past few days and we did not want to see him suffer."

Denman was renowned for his iron will and won 14 races from 24 starts.

His finest hour came in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in which he defeated stablemate Kauto Star by seven lengths.

Denman, who was retired in 2011, also won two Hennessy Gold Cups in 2007 and 2009.

"Denman was known affectionately to punters and racegoers as 'The Tank', which I always felt was a fitting description," Nicholls said.

"He was a magic horse who had a tremendous following because of the wholehearted way he went about his racing.

"He was tough, hardy and willing, wasn't the easiest to train, and would bite your hand off in his box given half a chance.

"He came along at the right time and was one of our superstars during a golden era for Team Ditcheat."