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The Master and his Apprentices

With over 3,500 winners and 75 Group 1 victories to his name, Felix Coetzee knows what it takes to ride a winner and the champion South African hoop is now teaching the next generation of riders to follow in his footsteps.

Coetzee is the Chief Riding Instructor for the Hong Kong Jockey Club and the head of their Apprentice Jockey Academy. He is currently in town for a two-week stay where he will build connections with the South Australian racing industry and spend some intense time with the three visiting Hong Kong apprentices, Kenny Lau, Gary Lo and Alfred Chan.

It will be far from a holiday for Coetzee while he’s in Adelaide as each morning he will be at trackwork working with the apprentices and then spending most afternoons with them on the mechanical horses in the UBET SA Apprentice Academy. He is also attending every race meeting over the two-week period, which saw him venture to Port Augusta last Sunday where his pupil Lau saluted aboard Kungsleden. Along with attending Saturday’s meeting at Morphettville he will also head to Penola on Sunday.

The man who was famous for his partnership with legend of the turf Silent Witness, Coetzee was very positive when speaking about the relationship between the Hong Kong Jockey Club and Thoroughbred Racing SA on on Saturday.

“They can’t do it without the opportunities and South Australian racing has done that and Hong Kong is very grateful for the chances that they’ve been given. They get a go here, they get good rides and ride winners and that’s what builds the confidence and makes it all happen for them,” Coetzee said.

Along with the three apprentice jockeys, another three Hong Kong track riders arrived in South Australia last Wednesday on a three-month visa. Over the next two weeks, Coetzee will also visit the stables of Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas, Ryan Balfour & Wayne Francis & Glen Kent who will be housing these riders over that time.

“Felix’s visit to South Australia is a great plus for TRSA as it really helps to highlight the support Hong Kong Jockey Club have for our local industry and our organisation,” TRSA Industry Training & Apprentice Academy Manager Briony Moore said.

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