Super Striker Hits The Magical 5500!

Now for Saturday and another Gr1 winner?

Multiple SA Champion jockey Piere Strydom reached a glorious, albeit somewhat overdue, milestone of 5500 career winners, when he steered Admiralty Arch to victory in the eighth race at the Vaal on Thursday.

Strydom was his polished self as he drove the  2-1 favourite home to a comfortable victory for Barend Botes and Yolande Vosloo.

Piere Strydom steers Admiralty Arch to victory and winner 5500 (Pic – JC Photos)

The evergreen 56 year old has had a tough time of it since suffering from a detached retina  in 2021, and would probably have chosen to have rather gone out in a 5500th blaze of glory by winning the Betway Gr1 Summer Cup on Saturday in his final ride in the Highveld flagship!He partners Nebraas for Sean Tarry, in a race he last won in 2014 on Louis The King.

But the Port Elizabeth-born legend will be thrilled either way to have reached the magic marker and, after having relocated to the Cape with his wife Chrisna, is now set to aim at retirement, with WSB Met day on 28 January 2023 a likely swansong.

He has apparently been booked to ride Typeset in the R7,5 million Cape Racing Gold Rush.

Trainer Barend Botes gives Striker a ride after the milestone winner (Pic – JC Photos)

Piere labels his father Hekkie, who trained in Gqeberha, as having had the biggest influence on his career.

The champion grew up in an era when there was always a lot of pace and his Dad taught him the importance of balance from a young age, and emphasised the need to be patient and get there as late as possible.

Trainer Barend Botes pours the champers over Striker’s head as Lyle Cooper takes cover (Pic – JC Photos)

Piere quickly gained a reputation for his dramatic finishes from way off the pace and as a result acquired the nickname ‘Striker’, given to him by a Gqeberha racing journalist who wrote under the name Rob Roy.

Strydom has also ridden in Hong Kong, Australia, the UK, Mauritius, Dubai and Turkey and regards the great JJ The Jet Plane, on whom he won the 2010 Gr1 Hong Kong Sprint, as the greatest horse he has ridden.

Well done Striker!

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