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Pomp and Power’s part-owner Greg Bortz said he was “super excited” ahead of the Grade 1 Daily News 2000 at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Saturday but also “super nervous”.

He said, “We all know Pomp And Power  is a strong horse and he can be a bit of a handful so the biggest threat to him winning is himself. But when you’ve got Richard Fourie aboard you can be cautiously optimistic.”

Bortz pointed at Pomp And Power’s eyecatching run in the WSB Guineas, that would have  brought him on, and, coupled with the good form of the Justin Snaith yard he said the horse would now be “absolutely ready” for the race “he has been prepped for.” 

Bortz is hoping the gallant Vercingetorix chestnut will settle as well as he did in the Grade 1 Jonsson Workwear Cape Derby where he put an end to his reputation as a one dimensional front-runner.

He ran on powerfully that day from midfield to win easing up by 1,50 lengths.

It was the third time he had been ridden by Fourie and the third time the partnership had won.

Pomp and Power is drawn in pole position on Saturday and there looks to be a lack of pace in the race, so he might find himself in front.

However, Bortz believes Fourie is one of the finest practitioners in his chosen field in the country, so sees draw one as a bonus.

He said it gave Fourie options, considering the versatility of the horse and Fourie’s excellent judgement of pace.

If there is indeed no pace he can lead and attempt to dictate. 

If there does happen to be some pace, Fourie can settle him off the pace.

Pomp And Power is the current 8/10 favourite and is the 5/1 Hollywoodbets Durban July favourite.

However, Greg revealed none of the money was his.

He said, “I have not had any bets on the Daily News or July.”

He added, “I used to bet a lot but since I have ramped up my interest in buying horses it is owning where my enjoyment comes from, I prefer the photo to a winning bet and have zero on any horse.”  

He said owning the July favourite had been a “surreal” experience. 

He admitted when growing up his ambition in racing had been simply to back the July winner, because owning a horse had been such a distant reality. 

He grew up close to Greyville racecourse and the commentaries he could hear from the course were his first “call to arms”. 

He recalls his first ever bet being R5 on Lightning Shot in the 1977 July.

The Des Rich-trained four-year-old won under Leslie Mustard at odds of 10/1.

“There was no coming back from that!” he laughed.

A few of his friends at the school he went to, Carmel College, were also racing fans and he recalls one of them bringing his racing newspaper pull outs to school.

One of his schoolmates, Nick Sternberg, was the son of Martin Sternberg who owned horses like Spanish Pool.

Greg’s string is in good form at the moment as he has a share in last weekend’s Listed WSB Stormsvlei Stakes winner, the Snaith-trained Maria Querol (Querari), and also owns a share in an earlier winner at the same meeting, the Snaith-trained Butterfly Beauty (Elusive Fort).  

He has two other runners at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Saturday, the Grade 1 Woolavington 2000 contender Bye Bye Bombshell and the Grade 3 Lonsdale Stirrup Cup runner Salvator Mundi.

Bye Bye Bombshell is by Duke Of Marmalade, whose progeny improve continuously, and she is out of a mare, Dubai Gina, who placed third in the Woolavington and won over 2400m.

She has proved she stays 2000m already and Greg believed she could run into the money as a member of a three-year-old fillies crop that had proven to not be strong.

He said Salvator Mundi had been working well, although his ultimate target was the Marshalls World Of Sport Gold Cup.

Greg was the talk of the recent BSA National Yearling Sale as the highest individual spender and on day one it looked like he was attempting to corner the Vercingetorix market. Seven of his eight purchases on day one were by Vercingetorix.

He revealed the thought behind this strategy.

“You obviously don’t have to be a genius to back Vercingetorix, he is already doing it, but I think he is only going to get better. In a stallion’s first year they try and send him good mares to give him a good start and then they hope he gets supported in the next couple of years, but once he has proven himself he will be sent quality mares and in fact it is already hard to get a mare to Vercingetorix.”

The matings for the crop Greg bought would have been done in 2019 after Vercingetorix’s first classic winner and first Grade 1 winner, Ikigai and Vernichey respectively, among others, so his theory could well prove correct.

However, his mind at present is focused on Saturday and he hoped Vercingetorix could follow the like of Dynasty and Bush Telegraph by becoming a Daily News winner who had sired a Daily News winner.

Greg’s ultimate dream is to win the Hollywoodbets Durban July but he is well aware of how difficult it is to do the Daily News/July double so is taking it one step at a time.

He will be back on his old stamping ground on Saturday and hoping for a second Grade 1 winner there having won the Gold Challenge with Undercover Agent back in 2018.   

Picture: Greg Bortz leads in Pomp And Power, whom he owns in partnership with Marsh Shirtliff and Etienne Braun, after winning the Grade 1 Jonsson Workwear Cape Derby