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Denman at Cheltenham

Handicapper faces 'challenge' of deciding Deman's Grand National rating

  PICTURE: Martin Lynch  

Denman National bid a 'challenge' for Smith

BHA head of handicapping Phil Smith has admitted he faces "a challenge" in deciding what rating Denman should run off if the Gold Cup winner is allowed to take his chance in the John Smith's Grand National.

If Denman runs off his official mark of 182, or indeed anything close to that, the vast majority of horses in the contest would be likely to carry just 10st but would also be required to race from out of the handicap.

Smith said: "It will be an interesting puzzle to try and decide what to do with Denman. On the one hand, I've got to try and give him what I think is a fair chance of winning, but I also don't want to disadvantage the rest of the field. It will be a balancing act and once I see the entries it will be easier to make the decisions.

"It's a challenge, but it will be less of a problem for me than the 20-odd jockeys who are going to have to do 10st."

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