JUST a matter of weeks after Membury eventer Laura Collett was handed the reins of Kauto Star, another Wiltshire rider has been entrusted with putting the double Cheltenham Gold Cup winner’s greatest rival through his paces.
Chippenham-based Harry Meade last week got the chance to saddle up Denman, the 2008 Gold Cup champion and one half of the most engaging racing rivalry of recent years.
The 12-year-old, better known as The Tank due to his inimitable running style, arrived at Meade’s Church Farm stables on Sunday at the request of the horse’s new rider, Charlotte Alexander, to receive specialist training.
And Meade, who was reconfirmed on Britain's World Class Development programme, was honoured to get the chance to work with the equine legend.
“We were very honoured to have a visit from one of the all time great racehorses, Denman,” he said.
“Charlotte Alexander, his new rider, called last week to ask if we could do a bit of work on jumping uprights.
"He was a great jumper throughout his steeplechasing career, and while his new job in the hunting field will give him plenty of opportunities over natural hedges, an entirely different technique is required for tackling uprights such as stone walls, rails and gates.
“He had a great approach to his work and for a big horse is sharp and nimble. I have been a big fan of The Tank for a long time and he felt every bit as great as I had imagined.”
MORE ON THE INCLUSION OF MEADE AND THE OTHER WILTSHIRE RIDERS ON THE WORLD CLASS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME IN THURSDAY'S GAZETTE & HERALD