Trainer, Sam Thomas, bids for Coral Gold Cup glory with Stolen Silver and Our Power
A field of 23 remain in contention for the £250,000 Coral Gold Cup on Saturday at Newbury Racecourse. Sam Thomas bids to join the exclusive club of the late Andy Turnell and Paul Nicholls of having both ridden and trained the winner of the feature race of Newbury’s National Hunt season. Thomas rode Denman to the first of his two wins in the race when landing an 11-length victory in 2007 under top weight of 11st 12. Now training, Sam Thomas is due to be represented by Stolen Silver and Our Power in the 3m2f contest.
Stolen Silver was last seen when landing an impressive six-length victory in the Native River Handicap Chase on soft ground at Chepstow in October at his first attempt over three miles. The eight-year-old was stepping up in trip for the first time whilst carrying 12 stone, Thomas commented on his performance: “The style he won in at Chepstow was really pleasing, he jumped brilliantly, relaxed, and saw the trip out well. 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 3m2f, 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.”
Having won both the Coral Trophy Handicap Chase and London Gold Cup Handicap Chase last season, the Coral Gold Cup has been a long-term target for the proven stayer Our Power. On the decision to start his season over hurdles, Thomas explained: “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.”
With the going currently good-to-soft on the chase course, the Welsh trainer has little concern with regards the going for Stolen Silver: “He is very versatile, he will handle the softer ground, he is so tough. He goes through the pain barrier in a lot of his races and had to in some of those 2 ½ mile races at Cheltenham as they go so quick. Our Power would be more impacted by the ground, better ground would be preferable. He’s flat bred with quite a choppy action so as near to good ground as possible would suit him better.”
Thomas rode the Paul Nicholls trained Denman to victory in 2007, one of three horses to win the £250,000 showpiece twice when winning again in 2009. Nicholls has the joint favourite in 2023 with the seven-year-old Complete Unknown. The runner up in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase is current joint favourite with the Irish trained Mahler Mission (John McConnell), one of three Irish runners alongside Gavin Cromwell’s Kim Muir runner up Stumptown and Max Flamingo trained by Francis Casey. Last year’s winning trainer Dan Skelton is set to be represented by Midnight River while 2022 runner up Remastered (David Pipe) is bidding to go one better this year. The inform Venetia Williams has 2021 winner, Cloudy Glen, in the race who could join the list of only three horses who have won the race twice. Lambourn may be represented by Paddy Power Gold Cup winner, Ga Law, and Datsalrightgino (Jamie Snowden), Topham Chase winner Bill Baxter (Warren Greatrex) and the Nicky Henderson trained Dusart. Scottish National and bet365 Gold Cup winner Kitty’s Light remains on course to line up for the Christian Williams team. Top weight is due to be carried by Lucinda Russell’s Aintree Bowl runner up, Ahoy Senor.
Coral’s David Stevens commented on the entries: “All the market principals remain in contention for Saturday’s Coral Gold Cup, and in what promises to be a classy and competitive renewal, we can’t split Complete Unknown for the champion trainer Paul Nicholls, and the Irish raider Mahler Mission, at the head of our betting.”
The 2023 Coral Gold Cup meeting takes place at Newbury Racecourse from Friday 1stDecember to Saturday 2nd December. Tickets can be purchased on the Newbury Racecourse website here. After the conclusion of racing on Saturday, the inaugural Goffs Coral Gold Cup Sale takes place in the parade ring.
**Coral Gold Cup
7 Complete Unknown, Mahler Mission, 8 Midnight River, Monbeg Genius, 9 Stumptown, 12 Our Power, Remastered, 14 Sail Away, Stolen Silver, 16 Ahoy Senor, Bill Baxter, Kitty’s Light, 20 Cloudy Glen, Datsalrightgino, Dusart, Eldorado Allen, Ga Law, Shakem Up’arry, Zanza, 25 Beauport, Twig, 40 Max Flamingo, 50 Lord Accord