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Striker Eyes Mauritius

Final surge as he eyes retirement in 2021

Piere Strydom’s determined ride to get Sugoi home for Clinton Binda in the sixth race at the Vaal on Thursday was ample proof that the old man can still show the young guns a thing or two.

Piere Strydpm drives the Clint Binda trained Sugoi to victory (Pic – JC Photos)

A past multiple SA champion jockey, Piere Strydom bounced back from riding one winner in March to a terrific SA Derby day double last month.

Now he is considering a stint in Mauritius to give his flagging career a boost prior to a possible retirement in 2021.

It’s almost thirty seven years down the line since 29 September 1982.

That was the day at Scottsville that a 16 year old Piere Strydom rode the Johnny Nicholson-trained Saadabad to victory – his career first.

Flashback to Act Of War – Kenilworth 22 November – The 5000 milestone

He rewrote the record books when he became the first South African jockey to ride 5000 winners. That happened in the Selangor Cup on Act Of War on 22 November 2014 at Kenilworth. His trophy cabinet includes six SA championship trophies and countless other accolades – and he has ridden the Pick Six and Jackpot on many occasions.

But this is 2019. We are all older and time waits for no man – not even a champion.

Determined to call it a day by the time he turns 55  on 7 June 2021, Piere Strydom reflected in an interview this week on the fickleness of human nature and how one wakes up one day to find that what one almost  took for granted yesterday is gone.

Talking to Julie Alexander on the Breeding To Win show, the man we have all learnt to admire as Striker – the jockey who can turn a slow horse into a winner –  he spoke philosophically about how the passage of time had eroded a position of power and the kingdom he once ruled over with majesty.

“The economic realities dictate that the smaller yards are getting smaller – and the bigger yards are getting bigger. The younger guys coming up through the ranks are hard working and hungrier – a lot of them have talent too. So from the days when I would phone and get 60% of the ride choices – and even the second choices would be accepted elsewhere and I would ride them too, I now have the fourth choices – if I’m lucky!”

Piere Strydom

Piere Strydom – legend

Strydom added that the days when he used to travel far and wide and try and win the championship  are also behind him.

“And out of sight, out of mind – people write you off quickly. I just don’t get the chances. And what’s frustrating is that even when I improve the ordinary horse’s form, I sometimes don’t get the ride back!”

He said that experiencing the rejection over and over and being knocked back all the time was soul destroying and not good for anybody. He said that he had young children, had been divorced twice and still had overheads.

Piere Strydom

“I am considering a stint in Mauritius to reinvigorate my mind and career. Doing the same old thing over and over in the same environment is not helping either.”

And what about training horses one day?

“I admire all trainers. It’s one of the toughest jobs on earth. Firstly you have to be an expert on many fronts – from selection of horses to feeding them to handicapping them. Then one has to be a psychologist and look after owners and make sure they don’t leave. And you are financially dependant on other people. I will never train horses – as much as I would love to give something back to the game one day.”

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9 comments on “Striker Eyes Mauritius

  1. Nish says:

    You can still be champion jockey again before you retire put your mind to it,you are a legend in your own right and the best in any country!

  2. Dave Jacobs says:

    Striker Will always be the best Jockey in my opinion for me. He has his own way of being a Champion Jockey. People tend to forget these old Guys made Horse Racing what it is Today.There are Many always remember the Good they Did and I Salute them South Africa s Best

  3. Jonathan Shaw says:

    Its a disgrace how Striker has been dropped by trainers – so fickle


    Mauritius Mr. Strydom, you can’t be serious !

    it’s the quickest way for an ambulance ride to the hospital, Sir.

  5. gops says:

    by far the best jockey in our country. the main reason for him not getting rides is that trainers and owners wont get the price of the horse if strydom is on. wat a shame

  6. Kuben says:

    Shocking to realise a jockey of this calibre cannot get enough rides here. Especially seeing the number of times you watch a race and think a better ride there and the horse wins. With the amount of time and money that goes into getting a horse race ready I can’t understand why people would not want the best possible chance by engaging one of the best jockeys this country has ever produced.

  7. Mac Naidoo says:

    He is still the best jockey ever south Africa has produced in my opinion. I know whatever Striker rides the price shortens that’s no fault of his. Best ever though again in my opinion

  8. Brian says:

    The man comes out, shows them he can still win graded races with non favoured horses. Shows them he’s still got the brain to feel the race so he wins from the front and from off the pace and he still can’t get a ride?

    Yet today, the easiest way fro the youngsters riding is to jump out a bit slow tuck in the back, no, not looking for cover, at the back where there is no hope of winning. Get into the home straight make a big act of “trying” and then don’t pursue.

    I’m not going to mention any names but most of the new breed of jockey don’t even want to try, get the rides and deny a guy like Pierre, who does want to win even if you put him on a 12 year old holiday resort pony , is going to give you a run rides he thoroughly deserves.

    If I was a stipe you’d have to leave an hour between races because I’d have most of the Jockey’s in the boardroom.

    Be a pain in the arse but I’d clean up racing in 3 months and then you’d see punters flocking back.

  9. Donald says:

    Fully agree with your comments Brian , the modern day stipes are to ” matey ” with South African jockeys and trainers for that matter – how do you call your friends into a boardroom and ask difficult questions – I will join you as a stipe and maybe we could clean the sport up in one month instead of three !

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