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Can Royal Victory emulate Puerto Manzano by winning both the Gr 1 Betway Summer Cup and Gr 1 World Pool Premier’s Champions Challenge in the same season (JC Photos)

The Sean Tarry-trained Vercingetorix colt Cousin Casey and the Nathan Kotzen-trained Pathfork gelding Royal Victory have been priced up as joint favourites for the Gr 1 World Pool Premier’s Champions Challenge.

However, an indication of how open it is this year is that they are out at 5/1 with WSB.

Cousin Casey, who was the Equus Champion Two-year-old male in his first season of racing, has had terrible luck with draws.
He has had the perfect preparation into this race and should be ideally distance suited.

Cousin Casey was well beaten in the Gr 1 Betway Summer Cup over this course and distance, but nothing panned out well for him from a wide draw that day and he was not as well prepared.

Richard Fourie rides but he is drawn wide again, 13 in the 14 horse field.

Royal Victory, on the other hand, won the Summer Cup by an easy 2,25 lengths jumping from draw 13 out of 18 and he now jumps from draw three.

However, that was a handicap and he was one of the bottom weights carrying 54kg and this is now a weight for age event.

He is officially 3,5kg under sufferance with the best weighted Dave The King.

However, he did win the Summer Cup comfortably and has always had a touch of class. The Summer Cup was the first time he ran over this trip.

He is a big runner with Summer Cup rider Muzi Yeni back aboard.

Dave The King finished a 0,70 length second to star colt See It Again in the Gr 1 Daily News 2000 over the easier 2000m Hollywoodbets Greyville 2000m last season.

He had developed a tendency of going a bit hard in front this season, but has recently been gelded and has settled down somewhat. He has run two fine seconds as a gelding over 1400m and 1600m respectively.

He is drawn in pole here and he has showed hints of being a classy middle distance horse, considering he also finished third in the Gr 1 Champions Cup over 1800m at Hollywoodbets Greyville.

It would be no surpise to see him providing Piere Strydom with another Gr 1 win from a pole position draw.

That draw will enable him to be pacemaker or sit handy without expending much energy to do so.

Leading the whole way over the tough Standside 2000m course and distance is going to stretch him.

The closers like Royal Victory and Cousin Casey will also enjoy it if he goes strongly in front.

De Kock and Strydom will likely have a trick up their sleeves though.

Puerto Manzano was last year’s winner, but he has to bounce back from a 14,75 length beating in the Gr 1 Wilgerbosdrift HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes over 1600m. He was beaten 12 lengths by Dave The King that day and 9,50 lengths by Cousin Casey. He would have found that trip too sharp though.

On Summer Cup form he is 6kg better off with Royal Victory for a 4,60 length beating, which actually puts him ahead of the latter.
That is interesting, because on paper it puts Dave The King and Cousin Casey in the pound seats.

Hollywoodbets Durban July winner Winchester Mansion is 4kg better off with Royal Victory for a 4,20 length beating.

That puts him in with a shout, but he has not run since then and has a wide draw of ten.

Without Question has run three times over this trip, in the Gr 1 Cape Derby, the Gr 1 Daily News 2000 and the Gr 1 WSB Cape Town Met, and has finished third every time.

His form gives him a definite shout, but he does have a tricky draw of nine.

Zeus prefers further, but has just 2,40 lengths to make up on Royal Victory on Summer Cup form on the same terms.

Son Of Raj ran a good 5,50 length fifth in the Horse Chestnut, just 0,25 lengths behind Cousin Casey.

However, he has 4,05 lengths to make up on Royal Victory on Summer Cup form and is only half-a-kilogram better off.

Safe Passage is an enigmatic sort and on his day will be right there. He is 2kg better off with Royal Victory for a 2,25 length beating in the Summer Cup, but he does now have a tougher draw.

Litigation has come into his own but at weight for age terms it is going to be tougher than recent.

Aragosta and Future Pearl will prefer further.

Street Art looks held by Litigation on their last meeting over 1800m.

Meridius has a good turn of foot and is up with Litigation on their last 1800m meeting.

However, he needs considerable improvement to win.