Horses / Columnists

Piere Strydom
5 minute read
8 Nov 2014
8:00 am

Still trickling towards my 5,000th win – Piere Strydom

Piere Strydom

I am edging closer to my target of 5,000 winners and as I have often said, the wheel keeps turning. At the moment I am five short and I’m trying my best to get there, but it is 90% horse and if you don’t have the horse it is hard to have the winners.

Va Bene, who runs in Race 9, is Piere Strydom's banker on today's Turffontein card. Picture: Supplied

I am getting some rides and there are some trainers who want to put me on, but it is about the quality of rides. It is a Catch 22 situation because when trainers do give you rides and you don’t win after the bookies have put you up as favourite, then trainers lose faith and it suddenly becomes a vicious circle with all the openings suddenly closing.

I know how it works and I have to just keep plugging away and hope I get to reach the goal.

So far there has been quite a lot of interest. Numerous punters and friends keep calling me to ask how many winners I still need. Some even suggest I do it on Summer Cup day but no one can predict exactly when it may happen.

They all want to be on course when it happens. Even my fiancé and kids want to know when it will take place so they will be there. The one thing everybody has in common. They all say “please don’t do it at the Vaal”.

Hopefully we can have a great celebration and everybody will pop into my restaurant and enjoy the moment.

A couple of weeks ago I posed the question for which trainer and owner I had ridden the most winners.  In the case of the stable it is Geoff Woodruff. The owner I have ridden the most winners for is Chris van Niekerk. The horse I have ridden to victory the most times is JJ The Jet Plane which is five.

The last time I celebrated a milestone was at 3,000 when Mike Azzie presented me with a photograph. The winner was Tirano for the Azzie stable at Newmarket on 5 November 2002.

For those who think I will stop riding after I have reached 5,000 I have news for you – the target of 6,000 awaits!

Only joking. I would like to slow down a little but I will need to be weaned off riding slowly. I might even want to get to another 75 as that was the number of winners I rode overseas. Then the 5,000 would relate to local winners only.

Best banker could come up in Race 9.

Racing is on the standside track today and Race 1 is for work riders. I think General Misty will be hard to beat. He is short in the betting but was beaten by a good sort last time and looks hard to oppose in this field. For those who like to play the exotics you could include Black Mack, who is at a big price.

The majority of the runners in Race 2 are unraced but of those who have run Victor’s Castle looks best. Watch the betting.

Race 3 is the opening leg of the Place Accumulator and my first choice is Down Under, with some confidence. Unfortunately a wide draw could make it difficult for him. I rode him last time, was caught wide, but still ran second. He does feel better than your average maiden winner and the galloping track will suit him better as he took a while to get going. If the poor draw is a worry then include Pay As You Go in the PA.

Race 4 is the opening leg of the Pick 6 and Alice Springs could possibly be a banker. Last time she placed on only her second run, she has scope for improvement and has No 1 draw. In saying that, while Alice Springs should be good enough as a PA banker, the form is not very strong so you could include a couple as backup in the Pick 6. They would be Bad Dream, Muskogee, Badger’s Belle and Scarlett Ice.

Race 5 is another tricky affair and I’m leaning towards Mootahadee as my first choice. The danger could be French Navy, who could improve quite a bit from his last win as he was still quite immature and green. Those are the two for the PA. My outsider for the race is White Tiger. His merit rating is coming down and he finally has a good draw and could be worth adding into the Pick 6.

Race 6 comprises a number of improving three-year-olds. My first choice is Illuminati as he has run behind some quality horses and has had to overcome bad draws. He is also good value. The dangers are Sun On Africa, who ran second to Bezanova, a subsequent feature-race winner, and Mutamakkin, who has won his only start and can improve quite a bit as he is a classy looking individual.

Two of them for the PA should be fine and go with all three for the Pick 6.

I’m riding Front Rank who has also had some bad draws and could improve.

Race 7 is very tricky as they are all three-year-old fillies and can improve on current form. I’m leaning towards Kosava, Brown Sugar and Moonlit Venice. Those three should be good enough for the PA and it could be wise to include the field for the Pick 6.

I ride Green Crest who is held by Moonlit Venice but she could have run below par on that occasion.

Race 8 is another difficult event. My first choice is Arabian National as Sean Tarry has his yard is in great form at the moment. He has had soundness issues and one cannot banker him. I would consider including Sagetator, despite his long layoff, Malta Rocks and Bazarutta Island, all for the PA. For the Pick 6, if you’re looking for a big payout, include the field, but otherwise you could cut it down to Mogok’s Desire, Kayhaladin and First Dance.

The last race looks quite competitive but I rode Va Bene in her last start. She needed the run and she played up quite badly. There was also a false start and as she wasn’t fully fit it could have affected her chances a lot more than the fit horses.

She still managed to run third in a race where the form seems to be quite strong – and that was only her second start. With normal fitness, and especially if she behaves better, this filly can quite easily be a banker in the PA and Pick 6.