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Holidaying Heathcote appoints Coetzee in new role

Thu 20 June 2024

By Glenn Davis

While trainer Robert Heathcote is recharging the batteries on a European holiday, his newly appointed racing manager Jarred Coetzee will steer the ship for the Ipswich Cup meeting on Saturday.

The South African-born Coetzee had his first taste of being in charge of Heathcote’s team for the Stradbroke Handicap meeting at Eagle Farm last Saturday.

A nephew of former champion South African jockey Felix Coetzee, who won numerous Group 1s in Hong Kong, Jarred has a wealth of experience in the racing industry.

“I was a foreman and rode work for four or five years for Chris Waller and rode track work in Hong Kong,” Coetzee said.

“I also trained for about a year in China for the China Horse Club before I came to Australia.”

Coetzee moved to Queensland five weeks ago after a five-year stint with Ballarat trainer Henry Dwyer who claimed a Group 1 with Asfoora in the King Charles Stakes at Royal Ascot this week.

At Ipswich, the stable will saddle up two starters with Dune Forty Five in the Listed Ipswich Cup and Party Spirit in the Class 3 Plate.

Heathcote had entered Hatchet for the Listed Eye Liner Stakes but decided to scratch and concentrate on the Group 3 Healy Stakes at Eagle Farm next week and next month’s Ramornie Handicap at Grafton.

While Heathcote is yet to win an Eye Liner Stakes, he has won the Ipswich Cup twice with Our Lukas in 2009 and 2010.

Coetzee expects Dune Forty Five to be competitive in the Ipswich Cup following his last start sixth in the Group 3 Premier’s Cup over 2400 metres at Eagle Farm on June 10.

“He’ll more than likely go forward as he likes a bit of room and he should race well,” Coetzee said.

With Hatchet out of the Eye Liner along with top weight Yellow Brick, the Bjorn Baker-trained Wategos is a short priced $2.25 favourite for the 1350 metre feature.

Baker is chasing another Queensland feature after landing the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap with Stefi Magnetica and Group 2 Brisbane Cup with Alegron at Eagle Farm last week.

Wategos won last year’s Murwillumbah Cup over 1550 metres last August before running in the $3 million The Big Dance at Randwick in November.

In his current campaign, Wategos had one run back from a break before going to stakes level in the Listed Takeover Target at Newcastle on May 11.

However, he bounced back when sent to Queensland for the winter, winning a Benchmark race at Doomben last month before a fast-finishing second to Yellow Brick in the Listed Spear Chief at Eagle Farm on June 8.