Sam Thomas bids to become just the third man to have both ridden and trained the winner of the Coral Gold Cup when he saddles Stolen Silver and Our Power in the Newbury feature on Saturday.
The late Andy Turnell and Paul Nicholls are the only others to have achieved such a feat, and Thomas is halfway to completing the accomplishment, having steered the Nicholls-trained Denman to the first of two famous victories in the race his during his Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning season.
Denman shouldered top-weight when delivering his astonishing display in 2007 – and while Stolen Silver has not got as much of a burden to carry, the eight-year-old has only Ahoy Senor above him in the handicap following a victorious comeback at Chepstow.
That was the first time Stolen Silver had competed over three miles and Thomas is hoping there could be more to come over staying distances.
“The style he won in at Chepstow was really pleasing, he jumped brilliantly, relaxed, and saw the trip out well,” said Thomas.
“I think he hopefully still has more to offer over that distance, which is exciting.
“Obviously, you don’t quite know sometimes until you run these horses over the extreme trips. However, I do feel he is a much more relaxed horse this season at home, and I think that’s a sign of him telling me he wants to step up in trip.
“I have no reason to believe he won’t get three-mile-two, it’s a flat track, they go a good gallop there and you need to stay very well. If he’s ever going to stay that trip, then it will be at a track like Newbury.”
Joining Stolen Silver in the same ownership of Walters Plant Hire and Potter Group is Our Power, who won back-to-back staying handicaps at Ascot and Kempton last season before finishing the campaign well held in the Grand National.
He returned at Newbury for a sighter of the course over hurdles, and Thomas hopes that early outing over the smaller obstacles will put his charge spot-on for a bold bid.
He continued: “Our Power had a good spin over hurdles to give him a good blow out. We would have loved to have run over fences, but we didn’t want to risk him winning again and ruining his chances of having a nice weight in the Coral Gold Cup. Hopefully he is still off a workable mark.
“He’s a very laid-back character and doesn’t give much away at home, but he’s come out of the race nicely and it gave us a bit of time to kick on and give him some more work. Hopefully it has blown away the cobwebs.”