Sam Thomas a jockey in demand
Sam Thomas is set to be reunited with Denman when he bids to win the Hennessy Gold Cup for the third time on November 27.
Thomas was on board the 10-year-old when he took the Newbury highlight in 2007, while they also tasted Cheltenham Gold Cup glory together in 2008.
After winning the Hennessy under Ruby Walsh 12 months ago, champion jockey Tony McCoy took to the saddle for the remainder of the campaign.
But with Walsh sidelined with a broken leg and McCoy expected to be retained by his boss and leading owner JP McManus, connections have once again turned to Thomas.
Denman's owner Paul Barber said: “I shall be very surprised if Sam doesn't ride Denman in the Hennessy and I hope he wants to ride him.
“It was extremely good of Tony to ride him for us last year having got special permission from Mr McManus, but this year he'll probably have one of his to ride in the Hennessy.
“We haven't actually offered Sam the ride, but he knows all about it. The horse is in very good form.”
Owner McManus is actually far from certain to have a runner in the Newbury highlight, however, with his two entries Quiscover Fontaine and Arbor Supreme not guaranteed to line up.
“We'll have to see a bit nearer the time. Willie (Mullins) says the pair of them are getting there but whether he can get a run into them beforehand, I don't know,” said the owner's racing manager Frank Berry.
“Willie's horses are a bit behind at the moment and I would say they'll be doing well to make the race, but we will know more nearer the time.”
Should McManus not be represented, this would leave McCoy free to take another ride in the race, with speculation bound to arise that he will get the leg-up on dual Cheltenham Gold Cup hero and Denman's stable companion Kauto Star following Ruby Walsh being sidelined.
Meanwhile, Forpadydeplasterer will make his seasonal reappearance in the Sinbad Testimonial 2010/2011 Chase at Cheltenham on Sunday.
The eight-year-old endured a luckless campaign last season, filling the runner-up spot on each of his five starts including in the Champion Chase at Cheltenham and the Melling Chase at Aintree.
His trainer Tom Cooper is eyeing a step up to three miles in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, but he will run over the minimum trip at Prestbury Park this weekend to blow away the cobwebs.
“The plan is for him to run in the two-miler on the Sunday.”
l THE Levy Board has decided to cut its budgeted expenditure in 2011 to £60million from an earlier recommendation of £70m.
At its August meeting, the Board approved a figure of £70m for planning purposes only to be reviewed in November.
In the light of income forecasts and the referral to Government for the 50th Levy Scheme to be determined following the October 31 deadline, £10m cuts are deemed to be necessary.
The Board has decided that as part of its reductions, its grants to racecourses towards regulation and integrity should be cut as well as clipping the money available to horsemen.
The Board will next year allocate £34m to horsemen and £17m to regulation and integrity grants.