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Piere Strydom reportedly becomes the oldest jockey in SA history to win a Gr 1 when landing the Ridgemont Garden Province Stakes on the Mike de Kock-trained Humdinger (Candiese Lenferna Photography)

Piere Strydom was at his canny best in the Gr 1 Ridgemont Garden Province Stakes on Saturday and his years of experience played a big part in the winning strategy that he and Mike de Kock devised for the What A Winter mare Humdinger.

Humdinger is a handy to front-running sort, but in the Garden Province there were a number of others known to also like to be right up there.

Strydom said after the race on Saturday, “There were so many horses in the race that want to go to the front, but often in that case no one goes, because they expect everyone else to lead. So I spoke to Mike and we decided we’re committing and if we get to the front, we get to the front, and if they come we will let them go past.”

The strategy worked because Humdinger ended up being able to dictate in front.

The mare is known for being at her best over 1400m.

However, Strydom said, “So I was able to relax a little bit in front, which normally is a bit of an issue. Her ears were sort of pricking, meaning she was relaxing, and sometimes she doesn’t do that, she normally grinds away.”

Strydom was thus confident upon entering the straight that she would see out the distance this time.

He continued, “When the other horses came to challenge me, I hadn’t changed the whip yet, which means I was still going to be able to change legs and obviously I knew I was then going to find a little bit extra.”

Strydom sat on her all the way to the 150m mark as the filly rolled down the straight still in the hands.

The Brett Crawford-trained Dynasty filly Happy Chance had emerged as a big danger and looked the winner to all those who are not familiar with the legendary “Striker” Strydom.

He made a deft change of whiphands to his left hand and gave her one smack.

The filly duly started finding extra.

The meastro rider did not use the whip even once more, but instead employed his usual style of showing the horse the whip and driving her out.

She fought back and got her nose down on the line to beat Happy Chance by a long-head.

Ridgemont Stud fittingly got the exacta in the race they sponsor.

The race did not pan out well for the hot favourite Double Grand Slam.

She was shufffled back from a handy position and with Strydom setting just steady fractions out in front she began pulling.

Nevertheless, she showed her usual fine turn of foot only to be squeezed out between Silver Sanctuary and Mrs Browning.

The fact that she had to be eased for a number of strides with just 250m to go and yet still managed to produce a flying finish for a 1,35 length third tells the story that the incident in the straight could well have cost her the race.

Humdinger is by What A Winter out of the Fort Wood Listed winner Himalayan Hill and she is owned by Joao da Mata’s International Racing Club syndicate in partnership with De Kock himself.

Strydom, as was well documented, was initially going to keep his comeback of June 2022 going only until he reached a career milestone of 5500 winners.

However, after reeling off the necessary eleven winners he has kept on going thanks to being given the opportunity to partner some top horses, notably See It Again.

He said on Saturday Joao Da Mata’s Glistian Events had extended his riding contract for another three months.

The chances of him becoming associated with more good horses will always be there, so it is pointless trying to pinpoint the date of his retirement.

It has reportedly been discovered that at age 58 on Saturday he became the oldest jockey in South African history to win a Gr 1.