Coetzee and Size make a perfect fit

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 November, 2007, 12:00am

Dynamic duo combine to score four-timer

Felix Coetzee could easily have walked out of Sha Tin last night self satisfied after landing a sparkling four-timer but he was more enthralled at the pure horsemanship of the man who provided each of his winning quartet, John Size.

The Australian trainer and the master South African horseman had easily their best day together since initially teaming up last season, when Coetzee came off retainer from the Tony Cruz yard.

What started out as a trickle with debutant Sight Winner ($153.50) in the second race ended up a flood by race nine, when Coetzee gave another perfect piece of execution to land Slow Waltz ($105) an easy winner of the Class Two Panasonic Lamdash Handicap.

In between, stable followers feasted when heavily bet favourites Palette The Best ($32) and Special Days ($33) arrived without too many problems in races five and six respectively.

Coetzee said the most remarkable thing about the four winners, from a jockey's viewpoint, was the uncanny pre-race accuracy of Size, not only about how the races would evolve but on the characteristics of the horses themselves.

'Even with Sight Winner, who was having his first start today, you wouldn't believe a trainer's instructions and understanding of a newcomer would be so accurate,' Coetzee said.

'All day long, I simply rode to John's instructions, put the horses where he wanted me to put them and everything worked out perfectly. He's the complete horseman, that's for sure, and his understanding of the horses he trains is incredibly precise.'

Coetzee will be the first to admit he's had a bit of luck - the flipside of Douglas Whyte's bad luck - that the runaway premiership leader was suspended yesterday.

Whyte is first-choice rider for Size and might have been on all four horses if not for the careless-riding ban he sustained recently at Happy Valley.

His senior compatriot has now had 34 rides for the Size stable this season and won eight of them, including four from seven yesterday, giving the combination a strike rate of 23.5 per cent.

The four-timer also saw Coetzee leapfrog a bottleneck of jockeys on a competitive new-season table to be joint second, with yesterday's treble winner Darren Beadman, on 11 wins. Whyte, meanwhile, remains a clear leader on 20 wins despite having to serve his second suspension of the season.

Sight Winner, a well-bred son of the multi-purpose sire Faltaat, got the day away to a sound start for the Size-Coetzee pairing with a comfortable victory against questionable opposition in the second event at 1,400 metres.

'He drew 14, which could have been a bit awkward, but a nice gap opened up between the leading division and the rest and Felix slotted him in there nicely,' Size said.

'Once that happened, and he was able to have a pretty soft trip, the rest of it was pretty straightforward.'

The maiden win of Palette The Best at the fourth time of asking convinced Size he was on track with the four-year-old son of Makybe Diva's sire, Desert King.

'He doesn't have a lot of speed but he can stay a bit,' Size said.

'The other day, having only his third start, he drew barrier 13 at the 2,000m start and it's nearly impossible for experienced horses to win from out there.

'But with the blinkers added today, and the benefit of an inside barrier, he was much better suited,' he said.

'With Special Days, his problem has been that he keeps missing the start and although he did again slightly today, going up to the mile it wasn't of any consequence and he did a good job. And with Slow Waltz, the best tactical ride won the race,' he said.