At the beginning of November, Master jockey Piere Strydom had to notch up just seven more wins in order to reach the magical milestone of 5000 victories but in the first fortnight, as luck would have it, he could muster only two spots atop the podium and was understandably beginning to show signs of consternation. That all changed for the better last weekend as 'Striker' put together a well timed string of three wins followed by an emotional victory at the Vaal on Thursday.... at 4999 bringing him now to within touching distance.
He had three rides at Kenilworth Saturday with Act Of War (Dynasty) starting at 6-10 in the sixth, the Grade 2 Selangor Cup over 1600m. The lead changed hands several times, with Cotton Hill (Antonius Pius) setting the margins to begin with before giving way to Generalissimo (Var) and then claiming it back as the horses started cornering. Act Of War was just off the early pace with MLJet (Jet Master), Kingvoldt (Western Winter), Balance Sheet (Silvano) and Catkin (Horse Chestnut) further back.
Strydom gave Act Of War a bit of rein in the straight and the Joey Ramsden-trained colt quickened readily, with Strydom just showing him the stick. He pulled away to win by 2.25 lengths from stablemate Kingvoldt. Said Strydom: “I tried not to put myself under pressure but every meeting racegoers, my fiance Claudia and my two sons were so hopeful. Thanks to everyone who has supported me – every winner counts.”
Strydom’s 5000th win followed on Legislate’s (Dynasty) terrific winning comeback in the Green Point Stakes (Grade 2) over 1600m. South Africa’s ruling Horse Of The Year had not run since being awarded South Africa’s biggest race, the Vodacom Durban July (Grade 1), in the boardroom on 5 July, having been hurt in a hurly-burly race. He made light work the win, allowing Captain America (Captain Al) to set the pace through the 400m marker before taking command and pulling away to win at a common canter by 3.50 lengths. It’s still early in the season but on the evidence of this easy win, it’ll take something extra special to stop Legislate from dominating the big races this season.
The R2million Lanzerac Ready To Run Stakes for graduates of the Cape Thoroughbred Sales Ready To Run Sale last year also went the way of the favourite, with Sean Tarry-trained raider Zambezi River (Trippi) keeping his unbeaten record intact at 9-2. Settled midfield behind pacemaker Sunset Tripp (Trippi), jockey S’manga Khumalo set him alight in the straight, although Brutal Force (Western Winter) gave him cheek for about 100m, he ran on gamely to win by 0.75 lengths. Sunset Tripp was a game third, another two lengths back.
The other feature event at the meeting was the Lanzerac Pioneer Pinotage Kenilworth Cup (Listed) over 3200m. Desert Swirl (Second Empire) set a painfully slow pace before Gothic (Silvano) circled round him to quicken it up a bit at the 600m marker. Coltrane (Giant's Causeway) was third ahead of Putney Flyer (Miesque's Approval) and Manx Missile (Judpot). Putney Flyer moved up to get within striking distance as the field straightened and ran on well to lead 300m out. Although Gothic tried to rally back, he had no answer to Putney Flyer and had to settle for second, 0.75 lengths back.
Extract from Tab News/JC Photographics (p)