It’s often said that the Durban July is a race that’s decided in the first 600 and last 400 metres in the 2 200m contest. Using that logic, then jockey Piere Strydom rode the perfect race aboard The Conglomerate when getting the four-year-old into the winners box at Greyville Racecourse on the weekend.
Drawn widest of all in the 18-horse field, Strydom got his mount to jump perfectly when the gates opened, got across from the wide starting berth and slotted the gelding just off the pace which was an honest one set by Dynamic under apprentice Lyle Hewitson.
“You need a lot of luck in this race. Obviously drawn 18 is always hard because they go hard early on and you are trying to overcome the draw,” Strydom, who earned a fourth success in this race, said afterwards.
As the runners swung for home, Strydom was able to extract more from his mount and kicked clear with the only real challenge coming from Marinaresco, also drawn out wide, under Grant van Niekerk.
“He jumped beautifully and I thought the pace was spot on for me, travelling really well in fourth and it was just a matter of kicking at the top of the straight which he did,” added Strydom before congratulating trainer Joey Ramsden for his efforts and getting the horse prepared for the race.
It was a first ever success in this race for Cape Town-based trainer Ramsden.
“The horse was spot on for me to be able to do that. He (Ramsden) said I owed him a couple of good rides for a while now and we finally got one.”
The official winning margin was a quarter of a length with Mac De Lago two lengths behind that, claiming third on the line ahead of It’s My Turn.
Here’s a replay of the R4.25-million race. Watch stall gate 18 closely to see how ‘Striker’ made light work of the outside draw.