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Jockey Felix Coetzee

Felix Coetzee: retires after 39-years in the saddle

  PICTURE: Getty Images  

Hip injury forces
Coetzee to call it a day

South Africa: Felix Coetzee, one of South Africa's most famous jockeys, has announced his retirement aged 54 after an illustrious 39-year career.

Despite turning 55 in March, Coetzee remained one of the fittest members of the jockeys' room and was expected to return to the saddle following a recent hip operation.

However, the 75-time Grade 1 winner revealed on Wednesday that his hip problem had persisted and it was time to call it a day.

"Unfortunately, I am struggling with the wear and tear on my hip and subsequent hip replacement and have had to call it a day," said the three-time South African champion jockey.

"For my future, because of my love of horses, I want to stay in the racing industry in some way and I am working to do just that."

The Cape Town-based jockey, made his mark overseas capturing a number of big races in  Singapore, Japan and Dubai but he was adored by fans in Hong Kong for his asscociation with champion sprinter and nine-time Group 1 winner Silent Witness.

The Aussie-bred gelding won his first 17 races and Coetzee rode him in every one of his 29 career starts.

Coetzee's Hong Kong record includes two Derbies, two International Sprints, two Gold Cups, the Stewards Cup and International Mile. He also won the Golden Shaheen in Dubai, the Sprinter Stakes in Japan and the Krisflyer Sprint in Singapore.

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