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Striker – Master Of The Waiting Game

Patient for the green light

Multiple past SA champion jockey Piere Strydom produced his vintage skills from the saddle and entertained the Gins ‘n Roses crowd at Turffontein on Saturday to some serious world-class race riding win the Gr1 Computaform Sprint on Cape raider, Pacific Trader.

Fast approaching his mid-fifties, Strydom gave the top class young gun Diego De Gouveia a bit of a surprise when he appeared with a powerful lunge in the final stride to snatch victory from Princess Rebel.

Piere Strydom – top class at his age Pic- JC Photos)

The top jock, disillusioned with a lack of support from local trainers, was recently granted clearance from the Mauritius Turf Club to take up a contract with the Rameshwar Gujadhur yard. He is now sitting in limbo awaiting formal authority to pack his tooth-brush in to his suitcase and head to OR Tambo.

“I haven’t heard anything further, so I am waiting. But life goes on. The bills don’t stop and we have to earn a living,” he laughed when talking to the Sporting Post on Tuesday.

“You know, it’s quite a performance. There is paperwork, medicals, x-rays, NHA  clearance, approval from the Prime Minister – and the rest. My side is all done and dusted and the MTC have given me the green light. So now it’s a case of waiting – and waiting – but I’m taking rides and carrying on as normal.”

He said that he accepted his Champions Day rides with a firm commitment to fulfil them. He also said that things had looked up a bit with a touch more support since he went public.

“I think some guys may hesitate as I’m probably not going to be able to stick with the ride – especially if it’s a horse with a feature programme. I notice I didn’t get the nod again for Return Flight in the Gerald Rosenberg. But we take what we can and life goes on,” he said philosophically.

Thirty seven years since he rode his first winner, Striker felt his career flagging and some professional boredom, riding at the same Highveld tracks three times a week, every week.

He intends to call it a day in 2021.

He has only ever ridden in Mauritius in the international races at the end of their season.

“I really hope it comes together. The track is tight and fast. The horses racing there are all experienced though. And the stable has the likes of the talented White River and Nebula. So we have the capacity to be very competitive.”

He said that his sons would be staying with his ex-wife but would be coming out to visit.

“I’d love to have taken them with. But they’re at school and I don’t want to disrupt things and set them back.”

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3 comments on “Striker – Master Of The Waiting Game

  1. Paul says:

    True albeit I have always thought Striker is never more dangerous than when ‘waiting at the front’. A master of pace.

  2. Brian says:

    Pierre, I’m not a Jockey. If a horse saw me it would sprint 800 in 3 seconds to get away from me.

    You have achieved so much, more than any other Jockey. Think about that!

    More than being a champion jockey, you’re a champion person. I know!
    The donations if your memorabilia to the Knights of DA Gama Box ‘n Dine way back when and to other charities you’ve supported make you a better man than the titles you have earned.

    Can it go on forever? I think you know the answer to that.

    Are you riding at the top of your game? I think you know the answer to that as well.

    You have in recent graded races shown this modern crop how to WIN.

    You have forgotten what they still have to achieve the humbleness to learn. When you became champion over again we didn’t race 7 days a week. If I’m not mistaken, those days riding fees were more of a retainer? Not to sure about that though but I seem to think a Jockey can get by on riding fees alone. i am open to correction.

    So quantity versus quality?

    Pierre, you’re quality! Your recent wins prove it!

    Don’t go, you’re a champion. Champions get up off the floor!

    By the way, is London News still the best you’ve ever ridden?

  3. Sylvester Lee Govender says:

    Best jockey in South Africa and one of the best in the world, it’s disappointing to see that he does not get enough support from good trainers. This is a man that has nothing more to prove, he has won everything there is to win and let us not forget that he is the only jockey to ride over 5000 winners in his career. Apart from this he is the first and only jockey to ever ride the pick 6 by riding 7 winners on a day. Much deserved respect to Piere Striker Strydom. Legends don’t die, they live forever and even when retired their names will be remembered!!

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