Piere Strydom: The Durban winter season is in full swing but I will be missing most of it as on Monday I will be jetting off to Mauritius for a few months.
I’ve been in contact with a couple of trainers on the island for a while now because I’ve been battling to get rides in Joburg.
When you can’t get top quality rides and have to take lesser quality mounts, it makes life tough.
The amazing thing is that people still expect you to produce the goods on weaker horses. It was getting quite frustrating.
So, I thought Mauritius would be a good option because I have nothing to lose. Ironically since signing the contract I’ve had a couple of feature wins, including two Grade 1s and a Grade 2 so leaving now when everything has started to go well is even more frustrating.
The quality of my rides was picking up and as you win, you form bonds with trainers and that relationship can go from strength to strength.
But I have committed myself to Mauritius and I’m hoping to make a success of it. If things don’t work out, I’ve really lost nothing but I think the change will be good for me. It could be a nice venture and a wake-up call for me to revitalise my interest in riding.
I am contracted to ride for trainer Rameshwar Gujadhur but part of my agreement is that I will be available to ride at the Durban July meeting at Greyville. There have been a few rides I have tried to book although nothing has been confirmed.
One of them is Doublemint, who is running today in the World Sports Betting 1900, but at this stage the weight is an issue. He ran very good race in the Sun Met where he was beaten around three lengths, despite have been way out on handicapping, which means had the race been a handicap he may well have won the Met.
As the July is a handicap his, chances will be much better when he meets the same horses.
Today the main racing is at Greyville but tomorrow we’re on the Inside track at Turffontein. Race 1 is a Maiden Plate over 1200m where we have a couple of two-year-olds taking on older horses. My first choice is Ashbaal who is from the younger set and looks to be the best bet on the card. He is drawn well, which is a huge advantage at this track, so I make him hard to beat.
Race 2 is another Maiden Plate and once again the youngsters are taking on the older horses. My first choice is The Fifth Wave who I rode in her first start. She has quite a bit of speed and from No 1 draw should have an advantage over the field. The dangers come from the older horses and they are probably Star Of Gibraltar and Glacier Girl.
For the Place Accumulator go with The Fifth Wave and Star Of Gibraltar.
Race 3 is an Assessment Plate where your better handicapped horses should come out on top. My fancies are Blonde Vision, Cordillera, Afrostar and Ouro. I suggest you choose two of those for the PA, but because of the draw being important perhaps Blonde Vision and Ouro should be the pair. Go with all four in the Pick 6.
Race 4 is another Maiden Plate where the main runners are Dry Your Eyes, Flame Fella and William Henley. They should be good enough for the Pick 6 but for the PA go with any two.
Race 5 is a Pinnacle Stakes where your highest rated horses should come out on top. The main horses to follow are Atyaab, Infamous Fox and Hero’s Honour. Choose two for the PA and for the Pick 6 go with all of them, as well as The Dazzler and Pilou.
Race 6 is the Listed Syringa Handicap which is quite a difficult race. For the Pick 6 include as many as possible, but my main selections are Folk Dance, Rockin Russian and Anneka. Other possible inclusions are Cashel Palace, Regal Graduation and Carioca.
Race 7 is a Pinnacle Stakes which favours the highest rated runners. As the draw is quite important over this distance my first selection is Captain Aldo. The fact he also races from a handy position means he has a lot in his favour.
Others with form are Zouaves and Will Pays but they tend to come from quite far back so it is difficult to make them confident selections. However, it might be wise to include Pietro Mascagni in the PA as Captain Aldo ran a poor race last time and is now eight years old. For the Pick 6 put all of them in.
Race 8 is quite a difficult fillies’ handicap and the whole field has a chance of winning. For the Pick 6 go quite wide but for the PA lean towards good draws as it is over 1450m where the barrier positions do matter.
Therefore I am leaning towards Abelie, Lady Lexington and Only To Win. Also consider Seattle Tango who should benefit from draw No 1. She is quite a puller and from that barrier position she has a lot on her favour.
No 6 Ashbaal
No 2 Folk Dance