Strydom finally ready to turn back the clock

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 January, 2011, 12:00am

During a conversation with star South African rider Piere Strydom, in the aftermath of J J The Jet Plane's win in the Hong Kong Sprint last month, the jockey shook his head in disbelief that he had not ridden at Sha Tin for more than 13 years.

The word on the grapevine is that is about to change and the South African influence on the local scene is about to become even stronger when the licensing committee meets next Monday.

Strydom (pictured), now 44, has won every Group One at home, as well as five jockeys' championships, and is rated by many as the equal of any of the great jockeys produced in his homeland - a production line that has included Douglas Whyte, Felix Coetzee and Basil Marcus among the many brilliant horsemen who have played such a serious part in Hong Kong racing in the past and the present.

He rode here during the 1995-96 and 1996-97 seasons, winning 55 races at a strike rate of better than one win in every 10 rides, and said he had then felt Hong Kong was not for him at that stage of his career.

On international day, Strydom laughed and said he had gone home at that time, intending to reapply, but the years just got away. And, he added, maybe it was now time to put in another application while the win on J J The Jet Plane was fresh.

It appears he was not kidding about that and this column believes Strydom will be licensed as a club jockey for the back half of this season.