Horses / Columnists

Piere Strydom
2 minute read
2 Aug 2014
8:53 am

New season revitalises all

Piere Strydom

It is the start of a new season and everybody will be sweeping away like the proverbial new broom. It will take a few months before one can see who your contenders are for the next season although in the case of the jockeys, the contenders tend to appear even earlier. That is because the jockeys are not relying on stakes but on the number of wins. 

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

To win the jockeys’ championship you have to be fully dedicated. You can’t just talk about it, you have to go out and do it. You have to put in that extra effort, be prepared to travel all over the country to every meeting and once you start to succeed, it becomes infectious. Everybody – owners, trainers, bookmakers, punters – jumps on the bandwagon.

I’ve had many years of it. It’s great to be able to give that impression of accomplishment because it sucks other people into it and you start to get quality rides. It all falls into place a lot easier. If you don’t, the rides fall away and you are back struggling to get decent mounts.

I’ve had a couple of tough months lately, not only with health issues, and not getting much support has made it even more difficult. But you wouldn’t say that if you looked at the bookmakers’ pricing up of horses I ride.

However, I was quite pleased to have a very good final week of the season. I had a couple of winners and it was especially gratifying to ride a Grade 1, Harry’s Son, winner on Gold Cup day. Gold Onyx surprised me by almost staying the full distance of the Gold Cup and coming within 0.60 lengths of winning the race.

For those who are unaware, money does not fall out of the sky for us. We need to ride winners and places to earn a living. Sometimes you can be in a fantastic zone of riding winner after winner but the tide turns and it can become a battle out there.

Obviously from my side I have to thank the support I had during the season. My immediate goal is to hit the 5,000 winner mark. At this stage I am around 70 short. The great Muis Roberts finished just short of 4,000 and had to give up due to injury. I hope to get going and hit the 5,000 mark as soon as possible but to do that you have to get some quality rides.  I’m thankful to those who have helped me make it this far.