Piere Strydom on the prowl

Veteran jockey Piere Strydom has three carded favourites at the Vaal.

Other than their greatness, Piere Strydom and Rafael Nadal have another feature in common – everybody wants to know when they are going to retire.

But while Rafa seems to be wobbling towards what most people expect to be his final French Open starting in a couple of weeks’ time, Striker just seems to be strutting towards another Hollywoodbets Durban July, seeking a record-equalling victory.

So, after a period in which the 55-year-old had been struggling to get competitive rides, it is good to see him going into Thursday’s meeting at the Vaal with three rides, all of which are at the top of the bookmakers’ boards in the early betting.

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He is carded to ride Wolf Mountain for Mike de Kock in Race 3, To The Recue for Sean Tarry in Race 6 and Whorly Whorly for Clinton Binda in Race 8.

There is no doubt Wolf Mountain, who contests a Maiden Juvenile Plate over 1000m, is the standout bet for him on the day. The promising two-year-old son of Buffalo Bill Cody finished a close-up second on debut over the same distance behind Master Casper under Richard Fourie on the Turffontein Inside track a fortnight ago.

Master Casper, who had placed in two feature races in the Western Cape, was priced up at 1-3 to that race and Wolf Mountain’s 0.60-length defeat was certainly a flattering performance. The two-year-old colt would have come on appreciably with the benefit of that experience and looks impossible to oppose this time. Although one is unlikely to get rich backing him on the nose, he stands out as a banker in all the exotics.

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To The Rescue lines up in a Classified Stakes over 2400m in what looks one of the most competitive races on the card. Strydom does have a decent enough record aboard this three-year-old son of Gimmethegreenlight but of his three rides, this could be the toughest from him to bring home.

To The Rescue finished a 2.50-length third behind Weather Wizard last time in his first try over 2400m and the positive note is that he certainly was not stopping at the end. But he will face a tough challenge from the likes of Leeson, Royal Mazarin and One Religion.

One runner Strydom does know well is Whorly Whorly, who contests a MR 74 Handicap over 1400m. Perhaps his age has given Strydom a touch of pathos for this nine-year-old gelding as he has ridden him 13 times for five wins and two places.

In fact, the last win was on 9 May and as a result he will be carrying 61.5kg, 1kg higher than his carded weight. But he does love this course and distance so it would come as know surprise were the two old warriors to gang up for yet another victory.

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