Twelve months ago, David Power was expecting to be trackside to see the top sprinters he owns with wife Sabena - Sole Power and Slade Power - take on some of the world's best in the Longines Hong Kong Sprint.

In the end, neither horse could match Japanese superstar Lord Kanaloa, with Sole Power leading home the chasers in second and Slade Power a disappointing 10th. But instead of cheering them on from Sha Tin, the owner had to make do with watching from an Irish hospital after a near-death experience.

"They wanted to put in a pacemaker, and the next thing I remember is seeing all these people around me rushing in - my heart had stopped," he said on Wednesday.

Sole Power's style of racing is exciting," Lynam said. "He's not a typical sprinter. He sits off them
Edward Lynam

A year on, he has finally made the trek to Sha Tin, hoping to see Sole Power go one better in Sunday's sprint.

The four-time Group One winner, trained by Ed Lynam, is one of the world's most popular horses and on Sunday night was crowned Ireland's Horse of the Year, beating out the now-retired Slade Power and dual Derby winner Australia, as well as top jumpers Jezki and Lord Windermere.

It has not always been that way, though.

His first Group One victory, the 2010 Nunthorpe Stakes, he was a 100-1 fly in the ointment.

"I think Sole Power's style of racing is exciting," Lynam said. "He's not a typical sprinter. He sits off them, needs luck in running and comes with this late flourish.

"He's a very popular horse. He has fans all over and we've never shirked a battle with him - he's been here, Dubai, France. He's just a real box-office horse.

"That said, he's never really got the plaudits as a champion sprinter, probably because he's around so often and he gets beaten quite a lot. He's not one of these horses that is popped off to stud after a couple of good runs."

The seven-year-old has yet to win beyond 1,000 metres from seven attempts, but is coming off a strong season, which included two Group One wins and a Group Three - all races he had won before.

"It's probably been his best year, but it has been a long year," Lynam said. "He's a very happy horse, which is quite remarkable because he's been on the go solidly for two years now.

"I've done less with him than I have ever done before, just trying to keep him as fresh as possible. On his best form, he's a good chance and with a little luck in running, we can be hopeful."

It has been a breakout season of sorts for Lynam, too, who won four of the five English Group One sprints with Sole Power and Slade Power, and has two of Europe's most promising juvenile fillies in Anthem Alexander and Agnes Stewart.

"I've always had a great team and some great owners, and we've been lucky enough to hit on some nice horses all at once," he said. "At the end of the day, it's my name on the licence, but I can't take all the credit."

He said the local trial, the Jockey Club Sprint, created more questions than answers, but it was a horse he saw in a recent Melbourne raid with Slade Power, which he sees as his main danger.

"I thought Buffering could get an uncontested lead and, if so, he could be hard to beat," he said.