Denman (right): will parade at the Cheltenham Festival
PICTURE:Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
By Mark Scully 3:22PM 5 MAR 2017
DENMAN and Big Buck’s will be the star attractions in a Retraining Of Racehorses parade on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival.
The parade, which has become an increasingly popular element of day one of the festival, will take place before the the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and is being sponsored by the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Trust.
Denman is one of two Gold Cup heroes due to take part, with Long Run also heading back to the scene of his 2011 success.
Big Buck’s will also take part alongside fellow festival winners Finian’s Rainbow, Forpadydeplasterer, Penzance and Punjabi.
Another festival hero and a new name joining the parade this year is Balthazar King, who landed the 2014 Cross Country Chase when trained by Philip Hobbs.
Having made a full recovery from life-threatening injuries sustained during the 2015 Grand National at Aintree, Balthazar King now enjoys hunting with Izzi Beckett, wife of trainer Ralph.
“Balthazar King has adapted really well to his new life and new routine,” said Beckett. “He has hunted mainly with the Tedworth Hunt, as well as neighbouring packs, and he has taken to it like a natural. He loves watching hounds work and he has impeccable manners. Needless to say his jumping is outstanding.
“Hunting will be his number one job from now on. However, the plan is to try our hand at some RoR show classes this spring and summer.”
Another newcomer to the parade is The Giant Bolster, known at home as Sammy, who finished second, third and fourth in Gold Cups during a fine racing career before being retired last year.
Lucy Bridgwater, wife of the horse’s former trainer David, has taken on The Giant Bolster’s retraining, and said: “Sammy gave so much to all of us during his racing career and he is still being a star now – he really is the horse who keeps on giving. I think he knows how loved he is.”