Strydom gets win No 5,500 — now for the Summer Cup

November 25, 2022 0 By Cypher9ja

At the Vaal on Thursday Piere Strydom finally reached a milestone in his career when he rode his 5,500th winner.

He needed just one win to achieve that goal but like a cricket Test batter suffering the nervous nineties on 99 not out, Strydom had battled to find that elusive winner.

It finally came when Barend Botes-trained Admiralty Arch won Race 8 by one length – and all hell broke loose at the Vaal.

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But Strydom could achieve another landmark when he rides Nebraas in the Betway Summer Cup and become to South African racing what Gary Player is to South African golf.

Player won nine Majors during the 1950s, 60s and 70s, but if one includes the six Senior Majors Player managed to win at least one major in five decades.

Most successful jockey

Strydom has won the Summer Cup four times, making him the most successful jockey in the history of this race. But he has achieved those wins over three decades and should he make it five wins with Nebraas, they would span over four decades.

His winning rides are Roland’s Song (1990), Eventuail (2002), Tyson (2004) and Louis The King (2014).

“Gary Player is one of my heroes,” said Strydom. “I have always liked the way he was able to succeed in everything he set out to do. It would be an honour to be compared to him.”

So, Strydom is the most successful jockey, he is riding for a trainer in Sean Tarry who has won four of the last five Summer Cups and his mount is jumping from No 12 draw, the barrier position that has produced the most winners of this race.

What is not to like?  

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“That’s funny, 12 is one of my wife’s lucky numbers,” said Strydom

“About a year ago we had to drive to Cape St Francis and along the way we battled to find any accommodation. Eventually we discovered a place called the Blue Sky Ranch, which turned out to be Gary Player’s old stud farm.”  

On the subject of Nebraas, Strydom said he worked him on Tuesday, although he just did a bit of pace work. “He’s more of a Derby type horse, but I rode him in his penultimate race over 1,800m on the Inside track and he ran second to Pink Tourmaline.

“I was very pleased with that run because I thought it was too short and he wouldn’t run well on the Inside track.

“Realistically I’m hoping for a place, but you never know. He’s had two good prep runs and Sean has his horses spot on for the big day.

“Hopefully he can pull it off.”