FELIX COETZEE AND HIS TOP 20 CHAMPION HONG KONG HORSES (AND NEARLY MEETING AXL ROSE)

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk

They would always say that he had a built-in clock in his head, which is why he was such a master of pace. Like his fellow South African jockeys -Jeff Lloyd, almost South African, and Basil Marcus, once Felix “The Cat” Coetzee was allowed to bowl along in front and dictate the pace of a race, it was Vaya Con Dios for those doing the chasing. And Hong Kong racing fans saw it time and again, especially on a leader like Egyptian Ra, which provided the affable yet disciplined tough task master with a Group winner at 50 by leading all the way in the 2009 Silver Jubilee Cup.

“Tony (Cruz) promised me a Group winner after I turned 50 which I thought was an impossibility, but he delivered,” says the rider, who still regrets just missing seeing his idol Axl Rose of Guns and Roses fame. “I was sitting in the hotel lobby for hours hoping to get a glimpse of him and I didn’t see him walk right past me.” This from a racing legend who has won in front of hundreds of thousands…At least I got him up onstage with Deep Purple.

Like Douglas Whyte, Tony Cruz, Caspar Fownes, John Size and John Moore, Felix Coetzee has seen some of the very best horses Hong Kong has produced. Not only that, he was the regular rider for Hong Kong’s greatest galloper in the mighty Silent Witness.

Much has been written here about the unique partnership between rider and horse and much will continue to be written as this Tony Cruz-trained and Archie and Betty da Silva-owned Silent Witness really was Hong Kong’s horse- a freak of nature that won seventeen consecutive races and gave this city something to cheer about when the SARS crisis struck and a dark cloud of negativity hung over many lives.

OLD FRIENDS ARE THE BEST FRIENDS – FELIX COETZEE VISITS SILENT WITNESS

Hong Kong might have come to a standstill, but Silent Witness kept going. And watching this wonder horse with “The Cat” sitting atop win race after race gave Hong Kong the resilience it needed.

With us nearing July 1 and the twentieth anniversary of The Handover, we invited the legendary South African rider to list out his Top 20 Champion Hong Kong horses.

Topping the list is no surprise- his old friend whom he saw again when in Melbourne a few months ago at his wonderful retirement home at Living Legends: “He hasn’t changed a bit. He’s still the man. I waited around until he was ready to meet me. It had to be on his terms.”

There’s is a friendship that has stood the test of time. And will continue forever. It’s inspiring stuff and brilliant for the present and future of horse racing.


1. SILENT WITNESS

2. ELECTRONIC UNICORN

3. VIVA PATACA

4. LUCKY NINE

5. SACRED KINGDOM

6. VENGEANCE OF RAIN

7. AMBITIOUS DRAGON

8. RAPPER DRAGON

9. FAIRY KING PRAWN

10. BULLISH LUCK

11. GOOD BA BA

12. ORIENTAL EXPRESS

13. MILITARY ATTACK

14. DESIGNS ON ROME

15. RIVER VERDON

16. AEROVELOCITY

17. ABLE FRIEND

18. LUCKY OWNERS

19. INDIGENOUS

20. MR VITALITY

This entry was posted in FELIX COETZEE, Hong Kong Jockey Club, Hong Kong Racing, Horse Racing, JOHN MOORE, The horse racing industry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to FELIX COETZEE AND HIS TOP 20 CHAMPION HONG KONG HORSES (AND NEARLY MEETING AXL ROSE)

  1. Keith Hillier says:

    Nice to see River Verdon get a mention in Felix’s Top 20 after Douglas Whyte over-looked him. Hope River Verdon would make your list! Always interesting to read the ratings of the star jockeys. Cheers, Keith

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