THE year 1991 is a full quarter of a century ago, so we gave this photo a sepia tint to remind you how old you are! It features Piere Strydom on the powerhouse sprinter Goldmark, winning the Gr2 SA Airways Sprint over 1200m from Mersey Beat and Gold Ransom.

Goldmark, who was trained on his farm by Johan de Bruyn using his bakkie to gauge the horse’s pace on his farm track, had few peers in his generation, the great Senor Santa can be mentioned in the same breath, but not many others.  De Bruyn’s vehicle showed Goldmark’s well-being at any given time – the faster he’d have to drive next to his horse in farm gallops, the closer to 100% fit Goldmark would be.

The SAA Sprint had previously been restricted to three-year-olds but in 1991 was thrown open to all horses. Few racegoers grumbled about that because a top quality field was assembled for the race, with Goldmark the star attraction.

He’d raced only 15 times before this event, his career having been dogged by seemingly endless mishaps, including two knee chips, split hooves and liver poisoning.  He kept transforming himself, however, and doddled the Gr1 Natal Mercury Sprint from San Carlos, Overdog, Harry’s Echoe and Senor Santa just a month prior to the SAA.

Strydom took Goldmark to the front early, kept him rolling and at the 200m he was in full control, getting to the line with 1,25-lenghts to spare. “He’s a champ, he’s my champ,” enthused De Bruyn of the sprinter, who would become a successful stallion.

In all, Goldmark won 11 races, including the Gr1 Gilbeys Stakes, the Gr1 Mercury Sprint and the Gr1 First National, showing his class over 1600m with a one-length win over Senor Santa.

For many years after Goldmark had retired, Strydom rated him as the best horse he’d ridden.

A son of Golden Thatch and Equus Champion broodmare Pillow Talk (Royal Prerogative), Goldmark had his fair share of success at stud. Syndicated for Cheveley Stud by John Freeman in 1992, he sired the winners of over R24-million in stakes, including Durban July winner Trademark, My Squeeza, Laredo Gold, Rabande and Lord Of The Mark.

Goldmark died at The Alchemy in 2009, aged 22.

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