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Chairperson and director of Gold Circle Mayesh Chetty, Daily News Editor Ayanda Mdluli and winning Daily News 2000 jockey Piere Strydom. Picture: Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency (ANA)


The HKJC World Pool Champions Cup to be run over 1800m at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Sunday has tremendous strength in depth and takes on extra significance this year because it could decide the outcome of a few Equus Awards including the Equus Horse Of The Year award.

See It Again is the current favourite to be named the Equus Middle Distance Champion, but by winning this race can he usurp the current favourite to land both the Equus Three-Year-Old Male Champion award and Equus Horse Of The Year award i.e. Charles Dickens? The Twice Over colt had a tough race in the Hollywoodbets Durban July, but is likely to respond well to the freshening up training regime he will have been given for this race by trainer Michael Roberts. He has run his best races when running at the opposition, so can be dropped out from his wide draw. In a smallish 12 horse field, he should not have too much ground to make up. This could well be the last ride of Piere Strydom’s glittering career and what a moment it would be if he went out on a Grade 1-winning high!
Al Muthana is full of class too and showed it when winning the L’Ormarins King’s Plate, beating Charles Dickens, and then finishing just1,40 lengths behind the latter in the Gr 1 Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge. He is drawn widest of all but is another one with a fine turn of foot, capable of mowing a field down as he did in the King’s Plate. He only finished fifth last year when still with Mike de Kock, but that was after a tough race in the July.
Princess Calla is another one who could possibly be named Equus Horse Of The Year if winning this, because it will give her a third Grade 1 win of the season and on top of that she has won three Grade 2s. She is another who possesses a fine turn of foot, but she showed when winning the Gr 1 Ridgemont Garden Province Stakes last time that she does not have to run at horses to display her turn of foot, she can do it from handy positions. She is also drawn wide, so Richard Fourie might have to gamble and get up there and hope to slot in, because she will not be easy for See It Again and Al Muthana to catch if kicking from a handy position.
Zapatillas has freshness on his side having avoided the July. He showed his class when finishing just 3,10  lengths behind Charles Dickens in the Gold Challenge, just 1,70 lengths behind Al Muthana. He loves Hollywoodbets Greyville and his narrow third in the Gr 3 Politician Stakes as a three-year-old proved he enjoys this trip. He has a plum draw of two. 
Dave The King look ideally distance suited. If the July has not taken too much out of him he will be a big runner, because his pole position draw gives him the perfect opportunity to implement his dangerous front-running tactic. The big, long-strider is progressive and if he does not go close here he should be a contender for big race honours next season.
Safe Passage had no luck in the July, first finding himself too far back and then being squeezed up against the rail when trying to go for a run on the outside. He managed to run on well when he did get a clear run, but it was too late. That run should not have taken a lot out of him and he is another who is in with a chance here. 
Trip Of Fortune was one of the best three performed horses in the July and ran on very well. He has had a long season, but appears to be a tough horse who can take a lot of racing, so it would be no surprise to see him in the shake up.  
Bartholdi has been seen running on strongly in sprint races and won up to 1500m in his early days. He has never been tried beyond 1600m, but on pedigree should get this trip being by Act Of War out of a mare by stamina influence Mullins Bay. He is a fascinating runner here from draw six.
Pomp And Power usually gets the same analysis before every race he runs in i.e. if he is able to put his temperamental issues aside for the day he can mix it with the best in the country. This could well be his best trip and he is drawn seven under in form Gavin Lerena.
Second Base will likely be written off as he was before the July, but in fact he has exemplary form for his new trainer, finishing a short-head second in the Gr 1 Premier’s Champions Challenge and a commendable 5,10 length fifth in the July. He could run on again from draw nine under in form Chase Maujean.
Rascallion did not have any luck in the July as he was also caught in the scrimmaging on the outside. He is another who is capable of staying on strongly and this is probably his best trip.
MK’s Pride won the KZN Breeders Mile in good style, but he was very well weighted there. He has mixed it with the best over trips from sprints up to a mile, but should not be discounted over this trip because he did not have the run of the race in his three attempts at Gr 1 2000m races. His second place finish to Trip Of Fortune in the Gr 1 HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes showed that he is still up to it as a five-year-old entire.
It is a vintage renewal of this weight for age event and if See It Again does win even hardened punters who went against him will be glad for the legend, Piere “Striker” Strydom.