Piere Strydom. File photo: GALLO IMAGES/STEVE HAAG
Piere Strydom. File photo: GALLO IMAGES/STEVE HAAG

Jockey Piere Strydom has said this will be his last season so, certain to want to go out on a high, it may pay to support the former champion in coming months.

Strydom, 54,  has enjoyed an outstanding career and rode his 5,000th winner at Kenilworth in November 2014.

It is fair to say “Striker”, as he is affectionately known in racing circles, took his foot off the gas last season, riding in only 356 races and posting 38 winners.

 But in recent weeks Strydom has made visits to the No 1 box and the trend could continue at Turffontein on Saturday. With Lyle Hewitson and Muzi Yeni opting to stay in KZN in August, there are more rides available in Gauteng.

One of Strydom’s best mounts at the city track should be Miss Elegance, who represents the stable of Lucky Houdalakis in the seventh race. The daughter of Master Of My Fate won her maiden race by seven lengths and finished second on the Turffontein inner track last time out.

Waiting to take on Miss Elegance is Paul Matchett’s filly War Of Athena, who may start favourite. She is back from KZN after finishing a creditable third behind Vernichey in the grade 1 Allan Robertson.

The worry about that form is that unbeaten Vernichey proceeded to blot her copybook when never sighted in the KZN Yearling Sale Million race at Greyville on July day.

Houdalakis has back-up to Miss Elegance in the form of recent maiden winner Fantasy Flower, but Devin Habib’s mount may have to settle for a minor placing.

Strydom teams up with another Houdalakis inmate Littlewood in the fifth race where her rivals include Curvation, Illuminate and The Sash. To be honest, the Fort Wood mare is not one to risk the rent on in these difficult times, but the six-year-old warrants inclusion in exotic perms.

One of the best races on the card should be the third, in which the majority of the nine runners can be given a chance. At his opening price of 7-1, Shah Akbar appeals as a good each-way wager as this R1.3m son of Querari caught the eye when fifth on his debut in June.

Paul Peter will be expecting a big run from Euro Cent, who also did well on his first outing, finishing third behind Dogliotti. Add easy maiden winner Swindon’s Pride into the mix and you’ve got an intriguing three-year-old contest.

In the final leg of the Pick 6, it looks significant that Strydom has retained the ride on Brett Warren’s runner Smoke. It suggests he thinks the six-year-old can run well despite a wide draw.

Category Four, who did this column a good turn when winning at 13-2 last time out, should again run well, while others to consider in this 1,600m event are Kurt’s Approval, War Jewel and the Aussie-bred mare Welsh Harp.

Candice Dawson has her team in good order — she saddled two winners at Greyville on July day — and she will be expecting Master Supreme to notch his third win in the first leg of the Pick 6.

The four-year-old returns to calmer waters after running unplaced in the SA Derby and should go close in the hands of Callan Murray, who will be riding  the gelding for the first time.

Western Fort, fourth in the SA Derby, is back from KZN where he failed to place in two feature races. Peter’s colt rates the main threat to Dawson’s runner.

SELECTIONS

1st Race: (11) Lass Going West (9) Flying First Class (2) Ululate (1) Liverpool Legend

2nd Race: (10) Syds Liaison (12) Trumps Express (8) Summerdale (1) Elusive Swann

3rd Race: (9) Shah Akbar (7) Euro Cent (3) Swindon’s Pride (4) Red Ten

4th Race: (3) Master Supreme (1) Western Fort (2) Finchatton (5) Shogun

5th Race: (5) Curvation (2) Littlewood (1) Illuminate (10) The Sash

6th Race: (2) Dromedaris (1) American Indian (4) Top Shot (3) Secret Potion

7th Race: (2) Miss Elegance (1) War Of Athena (3) Elusive Woman (4) Fantasy Flower

8th Race: (5) Encryption (10) Mamaquera (4) Comaneci (8) Malteza

9th Race: (3) Smoke (10) Kurt’s Approval (2) Category Four (11) Western Oasis

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