Tony & Felix UNDOUBTEDLY the revelation of the 2003-04 season has been the consistent, top-end performance of the Tony Cruz-Felix Coetzee combination in taking out seven of Hong Kong's 14 Group One races. The 'C' team has won four Group Ones with unbeaten champion Silent Witness, two with the now-retired Danehill horse Lucky Owners and one peak performance from Bullish Luck in the Hong Kong Gold Cup in February. Cruz and Coetzee are the essence of teamwork. They formerly rode against each other in races, until Cruz called it quits in 1996, and each is a huge admirer of the other's skills and professionalism. Coetzee said Cruz's experience as Hong Kong's all-time top-winning jockey made him a 'dream' to ride for. 'He has been there before as a jockey and understands what can go wrong in a race. So, when something doesn't work out as we planned, he's very understanding. He doesn't give me a hard time or dwell on defeats. He moves on quickly. 'It's amazing, though, because often I will come in after a race and I don't even have to explain to him what I was feeling. He's been able to feel it himself, just watching the race. We think the same about horses, so it makes for a very easy working relationship,' Coetzee said. Cruz remembers the day he knew he wanted to make Coetzee his stable jockey. It was more than seven years ago when Coetzee, then 38, knocked on Cruz's door seeking an audience with Hong Kong's six-time champion jockey. Cruz said: 'Felix came to see me not long after I had retired and asked me my opinions as to what he could do to become a better jockey. I was shocked, but I was also very impressed. Here was Felix Coetzee, who had won all those premierships and every big race in South Africa, and was also very successful in Hong Kong, asking me how he could improve. That was the impressive part - he was prepared to do whatever it took to become an even better jockey than he was.' Cruz, 47, does not remember the advice he gave to Coetzee that afternoon. 'They were only small things, but what made an impression on me is that this guy was already very successful, but wanted to be even better. That's the stuff that makes a champion.' This year has been an absolute dream for the pair. Perhaps a single Group One, with Silent Witness in the Hong Kong Sprint, would have been a worthy season's highlight. But the peak performances kept coming and the dream became bigger and bigger. Coetzee said: 'Sometimes I have to pinch myself. The whole season has been one highlight after another. One Group One a year is a nice thing to win. Seven? It would have been impossible to imagine or predict, but it happened.' Lucky Owners has now departed Hong Kong, retired to famous Widden Stud in a beautiful, fertile valley in the midst of mountainous terrain in New South Wales. But Silent Witness, a gelding, will race on next season. The Hong Kong speed machine, now acknowledged as the world's best turf sprinter, has bigger mountains to climb next season. The Australian-bred galloper will be the captain of Hong Kong's home-team defence at the big international meeting in December, looking to repeat his brilliant victory in last year's $10 million Hong Kong Sprint (1,000 metres) down the straight at Sha Tin, where he broke the heart of South African flier National Currency. 'Naturally, I'm looking forward to being on Silent Witness again next season. He's far and away the best sprinter I've even ridden, and probably the best I'll ever ride,' Coetzee said.