Piere Strydom (48) has achieved a milestone unmatched by any jockey in the history of South African horseracing – 5000 career wins. This was achieved this past Saturday at the Lanzerac Ready to Run Stakes at Kenilworth in Cape Town.
“It’s always a huge compliment, but as they say in racing circles, you are only as good as your last winner,” said Strydom when asked how he feels about being described as one of South Africa’s best ever jockeys.
This achievement comes just days after Strydom helped his South African teammates to win the Racing. It’s a Rush International Jockeys Challenge. He scored 105 points out of the 547 achieved over the 2 legs, compared to the 288 points scored by the international team.
“Striker’ earned his nickname in the 1980s when he was an apprentice jockey. Racing journalist Rob Roy noticed his ability of coming from behind to catch tiring horses on the line – and the nickname, and winning flair, has stuck ever since.
When Strydom is not racing at least three times a week, he spends a lot of time doing homework in terms of studying horses and their form. “I do believe that is a great part of my success in terms of knowing which horses are better suited to certain types of races and surfaces,” he explains.
His fitness is also of paramount importance. “It’s a constant battle because if you don’t ride in races often enough, you lose a lot of fitness, but I try to maintain a daily routine of stretching. I also try and maintain an athletic yet light framed physique,” he says.
Strydom, who was born in Port Elizabeth, down the road from Fairview Racecourse, was born into a racing family. His father Hekkie Strydom was a Jockey and is now a trainer in PE.
He may have achieved something no other jockey in South Africa has ever done, but Strydom has no intention of retiring any time soon.
* Visit www.itsarush.co.za for more information.