Horses / Columnists

Piere Strydom
6 minute read
14 Jun 2014
7:33 am

Slump to hopefully end soon

Piere Strydom

All careers have their ups and downs and at the moment things haven’t been going that well for me. I had an incident in which I cut my hand and had to have stitches inserted. I haven’t ridden a winner since.

FILE PICTURE: South African champion jockey Piere Strydom.Picture: Supplied.

I’m not saying the injury is totally to blame but it is uncomfortable to ride and it does become a distraction. I have now had the stitches removed and I’m hoping it will result in a reversal of misfortune.

My immediate goal is to ride 5000 winners and I’m currently 87 winners short of the target. But as I haven’t had a winner for quite a while it feels like it will never come. The good thing is that I’ve been riding for so many years and have had so many ups and downs, the little bad runs here and there are not going to get me down, or even make me doubt myself.

It has been difficult to get mounts with winning chances right now although if you had to go according to the bookmakers’ betting you wouldn’t think so. That’s why I study form and I’m realistic about my chances.

Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I’ve picked up a one-week suspensions starting on Wednesday. I say fortunately because sometimes it isn’t a bad thing because it gives one a chance to rest one’s body.

I have spoken to some of the jockeys who ride in Durban and in general they are very happy to ride on the Polytrack at Greyville. At the moment the number of runners per race has been kept down but later they will be looking to increase the number of horses, which makes sense. But only then will you be able to tell whether the jockeys will really like to ride on a tight track with lots of horses.


Strydom sees Tiger Quest as his best ride on the card.

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Racing is on the standside track today and the first three races are all over 1400m so low draws are important.

The horse I’m looking at in Race 1 is Luca Delago. I also like Inala and Front Rank but they are both drawn wide which is why I favour Luca Delago.

The horse with the most room for improvement in Race 2 is Captain Clipper. The horse who may have run below his form last time because of it was his first run at Scottsville is Isphan. He has a good draw could be the danger.

Others to consider could be Rough Justice and Viking Castle.

I will only put two horses in the opening leg of the Place Accumulator – Bang Sue and Lady Ky. Bang Sue has won her only start very easily and is drawn No 1. Unfortunately she is still a bit of an unknown and the field she beat does not look to be a strong formline so it could be worth including Lady Ky as back-up.

Race 4 is the opening leg of the Pick 6. The horses I’m leaning towards are Waltraut, Bengowan Solo and Mystical Star and as they are a moderate bunch and none of these has form that is outstanding, you should possibly include all three in the Place Accumulator. In the Pick 6 you could add even more if you want.

Race 5 is another 1400m race and the good draw makes my first pick, Not Sulking, even more of a certainty. Had this been a handicap she would have carried a lot more weight but as this Conditions Plate goes according to the number of wins, she is very well weighted. The only other horse you could consider is Orator’s Daughter but she is coming back in distance and the track is a lot faster so it will be difficult for her to beat Not Sulking.

In Race 6 I’m riding Tiger Quest and I make her my best ride on the day. She is held by Virgo’s Babe on form but as Virgo’s Babe might find this 1000m too short and Tiger Quest will enjoy 1000m more than 1200m, she could quite easily turn the form around.

Winter Passion has some good form, other than her last start in which she had a problem at the start. So she should be included with Tiger Quest in the PA.

If you are concerned Tiger Quest travelled all the way to Scottsville and back again, you could include Virgo’s Babe in the Pick 6

In Race 7 I ride Halve The Deficit. He seems held on form in the turnover in weights. From the worst of the draw he could battle to reverse the form with these horses. As he is a possible Durban July ride I will be hoping for the best.

The two horses I would include in the PA are Tellina and Cherry On The Top. Those two should be good enough for the Pick 6 as well but if you want to look further go with Halve The Deficit, Brooks-Club and Killua Castle.

I’m riding Coby in Race 8. She’s a filly with scope for improvement but unfortunately the turnover in weights with some of the horses she met in the past diminishes her chances quite a bit. I found this quite a competitive race but I have found my roughie for the day in Tinseltown. If you take the apprentice claim into account she’s down 7.5kg on the SA Oaks run while Coby is up 2.5kg which makes it a 10kg swing in Tinseltown’s favour for a three-length beating.

Other horses with similar form-lines are African Blue and Erin. I would include all of these in the PA but for the Pick 6 I would consider Barrack Babe and Neon Tiger. Don’t be scared to go with the field if your budget allows.

I have cut Race 9 down to two horses – the Geoff Woodruff coupling of Shout Out and Sisters Of Mercy. They both won good races last time and the stable is in top form. For the Pick 6 you need to consider Sundays Sister. She only just won her maiden but she won well and the form before that has been franked.

Another runner could be Final Score but she has an atrocious draw and will have a tough task to win from there. The other horse to consider is Heaven’s Duel. Unfortunately she has a bad draw but has been running in Durban where at this time of the year the racing is competitive owing to all the visiting trainers.

She has now dropped seven points in the merit rating which is equivalent to 3.5kg and that equates to roughly 3.50 lengths. She now also has a 4kg claimer on top which theoretically means she’s dropped 7.5kg, so if all’s well, she could be huge runner at big price.