Piere “Striker” Strydom can devote whole chapters to a number of highlights in a legendary career and his comeback ride at Hollywoodbets Greyville yesterday deserves another.
In his first race ride for fourteen-and-a-half months he brought home the Justin Snaith-trained six-year-old Dynasty gelding Nexus to win the day’s main feature, the R600,000 KZN Breeders Mile.
It was his only ride of the day.
He jumped well from draw four and managed to get into the box seat behind the pacemaker Battle Force.
In the straight he went down the inside and got short of room as Battle Force carried him towards the rail.
However, he managed to get enough out of his mount to get through the gap and then used his familiar driving style to get him up by three-quarters of a length.
Battle Force (Act Of War) was second and Willow Express (Willow Magic) was third.
Nexus is owned by Nancy Hossack and was bred by Mike and Tanya McHardy’s Rathmor Stud.
Strydom has spent the last 14 and-a-half months on the sidelines due to a semi detached retina issue and was in fact unable to play sports as genteel as golf for a year.
At the beginning of this month he was given the all clear to ride again, but said he would probably call it a day if he failed to land a ride in the Hollywoodbets Durban July.
He didn’t sound hopeful of getting one either.
However, he then got a call from Jonathan Snaith just over two weeks ago enquiring about his weight and general fitness.
Jonathan was happy with what he heard and offered him the ride on Belgarion.
He started riding work again about two weeks ago.
Winning his first comeback ride was no great surprise because it is what has come to be expected of him – he has always made the extraordinary look ordinary.
Picture: Piere “Striker” Strydom winning his comeback ride on Nexus (Candiese Lenferna).