Coetzee salute for Size
If you were betting on the highlight of Felix Coetzee's season, one might assume that winning the Derby on Helene Mascot stood way out on its own, but the South African admitted at waterlogged Sha Tin there was a close second - his link to the John Size stable.
'Winning the Derby was just fantastic. I was a bit lucky to get the ride but he's a lovely horse and we won the Derby and I couldn't be happier with how it turned out,' Coetzee said after adding the Size-trained King Fay Fay to his list of winners.
'But I was also very pleased about the way I was able to combine with John this season. I hope I've helped him to win his championship but I know he really has helped me - more than half of my winners were for him and he's just great to work with.'
In fact, 27 of Coetzee's 46 victories this season have come from 148 rides for Size, and his mounts for the yard have placed in around one third of all cases.
Not bad for a 'sub' supposedly only standing in for Douglas Whyte when demanded, and it's interesting to note that Coetzee, Whyte (39 wins) and Christophe Soumillon (one) were the only jockeys to win a race for the trainer.
Size, in the process of tidying up his fifth championship in seven seasons at Sha Tin, said he was hoping for another contribution from King Fay Fay next term after the four-year-old had been a fairly slow starter.
'He had a tendon problem which held him back but the vet, Matthew O'Donnell, operated on him and that seems to have come right,' Size said.
'King Fay Fay does feel like he's got some ability in the mornings, but he has been presenting very nervously before his races and then not concentrating in them. As he has come along, he has settled down a little bit and what we saw today is probably a truer indication of his ability than some of his other runs. He might have a little bit more again to come with more experience next season.'
Coetzee said he was confident in running after getting into the right spot behind the leader on the four-year-old early.
'Manoeuvring him to come through a field has been difficult but once we landed up there in the box seat, I thought it was just what he needed. It wasn't complicated and he didn't have to think too much about what was going on,' he said.
Felix Coetzee and John Size have combined for this many victories from 148 rides: 27