White Flag Waving

Flag Of France wins the MR 94 Handicap at Turffontein on Saturday

Striking Hot! Flag Of France gallops clear under Piere Strydom (JC Photos)

Striking Hot! Flag Of France gallops clear under Piere Strydom (JC Photos)

The genius of SA Champion jockey Piere Strydom was shown to great advantage on the Romeo Francis trained Flag Of France at Turffontein on Saturday.

Strydom demonstrated yet again why he is streets ahead of anybody else riding in this country when it comes to converting strategy into race riding and giving his mounts a competitive edge.

While the R94 000 MR 94 Handicap run over the inside track mile had attracted a smart field of ten, including some promising lightly raced sorts, Strydom made the difference in what, with all due respect,  appeared an unlikely victory.

Strydom had caused something of an upset when winning on the 4yo gelding at his last start, and after a lacklustre spell in  Flag Of France’s formline, he showed what a difference a top jockey makes.

Spitfire Run made the pace as was anticipated and he galloped freely in front of Duly Ordained, Eurosilver and Right To Tango.

Spitfire Run is no champion but he is all heart, and he continued to set the fractions in the charge for home.

Strydom had been hovering in the shadows, and he produced Flag Of France between Duly Ordained and Impresa at the 400m marker and bounded clear to pinch a vital two length advantage.

It was a race winning move as the rest had to concede that the bird had flown. Fulcrum came out of the pack to chase him home.

Flag Of France won by 0,75 lengths in a time of 98,09 secs.

Fulcrum, who looks a good few hands bigger than Flag Of France, ran on powerfully for second, while One Up stayed on for third.

The promising Gray’s Champ from the Gavin Van Zyl yard ran a nice race in fifth and 4,25 lengths behind the winner after his rest, and should be monitored for improvement at his next few starts.

The fancied Duly Ordained ran a poor race, and came under a vigorous ride in the final 300m, before fading out of the picture to finish seventh and 5 lengths behind.

Bred by Chris Saunders in KZN, Flag Of France is by The Sheik out of the five time winning Val Des Bois mare, Fields Of France

Flag Of France was registering his second win on the trot and his fourth in total from 29 starts with 8 places.

He took his earnings to R294 100, and should continue to pay his way in this sort of company.

Piere Strydom shared the riding honours on the day by riding a double, together with his national log leading colleague, S’manga Khumalo.

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