Coetzee delighted to finally win one for Size
In a Hong Kong career stretching back some 14 years and encompassing the best part of 600 winners, jockey Felix Coetzee finally found a place for one trained by John Size yesterday with Pocket Money.
Part of a double for the highly accomplished South African rider, Pocket Money's win after some excellent recent form was hardly as remarkable as the fact that Coetzee had never ridden a horse to victory for Size.
Since his first mount for the Australian in May 2002 - and the only engagement during Size's triumphant first season - Coetzee had ridden 32 times for Size without a winner and 20 of them this season for a few minor placings.
'I must say, it does start to worry you after a while so I'm pleased to get that one out of the way,' smiled Coetzee. But the truth has been that he's had little luck on the Size-trained mounts.
'Felix hasn't had a lot go right for me but I thought I'd persist with him - he seems to go all right. At least that's what I thought,' Size said wryly, since he has had enough experience of Coetzee in opposition when he was Tony Cruz's stable jockey.
Yesterday's event could not have gone better for Pocket Money as he equalled the course 1,400m record.
'We'd had a little trouble with the horse at Happy Valley - maybe he didn't like the lights or something, but he has not been beginning well. Today he was out nicely, got a great spot behind a fast pace and he was able to put himself into the race.'
It was the race that Pocket Money had been desperately trying to win for Size since joining the yard four starts earlier but he'd had the misfortune to be going around in Class Three with 133 pounds and bumping into the likes of Medic Power and Fellowship.
'He's done the job well today in the higher grade but under a light weight and you'd hope that there's another one there yet and possibly even a decent handicap race one day,' said Size.
The time of one minute and 20.4seconds on a lightning fast Sha Tin course was the equal of Flaming Lamborgini's record, set in winning the National Day Cup last October.
Coetzee's earlier winner was cellar-dwelling Bauhinia, coincidentally for Pocket's Money's previous trainer, Sean Woods, and he was able to outstay his rivals after a furious pace had been set in the 1,650m fifth on the dirt.
'The pace was a cracker,' said Coetzee. 'As he always does, Bauhinia hit a flat spot at about the 600m but he came on again at the finish. He's run well up to 1,800m so when it became a slog like that he was too tough.'