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by RAY FLEMING
YOU can keep Aintree and Ascot as far as I am concerned. Cheltenham is the greatest racecourse that I know and year after year it stages contests of the utmost quality at its annual March meeting. To look from the grandstand at the rolling Cotswold country and watch fine racehorses give their utmost over fences and hurdles is an experience second to none. True, with a crowd of 65'000 on Gold Cup day there may not be much elbow room but the atmosphere is electric. Yesterday's Gold Cup produced a remarkable result with horses from the same stable of Paul Nicholls finishing first, second and third. It may have happened before in minor races but I doubt that it has in an event as prestigious as the Gold Cup. It had been predicted for exactly one year that Kauto Star and Denman would be the favourites for the 2008 Gold Cup. At the
2007 Cheltenham meeting Kauto Star had won the Gold Cup while Denman had triumphed in another testing race two days earlier. There seemed little to separate them beyond the vagaries of the day. And so it proved yesterday.

Although the anticipated close contest between the two stars did not occur, they finished 1-2 with Denman taking the honours with an exhilarating front-running victory from the 11th fence and a slightly subdued Kauto Star running strongly at the end for second place. To be resumed in 2009?