By Hans Ebert
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.