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The start to Natie Kotzen’s career as a trainer in his own right has been much like the man himself, cautious and steady.

Kotzen, who turned 50 on 24 August, took the plunge when Mike de Kock closed down his KwaZulu-Natal satellite base.

Kotzen had been De Kock’s KZN assistant for many years following a career that entailed two to three-year stints with all of Mike Azzie, Robbie Sivewright, Colin Lee, Patrick Lunn, the late Michael Roberts and David Payne.

With 12 horses to care for, two owned by his former boss, he stepped out on to the Summerveld training tracks as a trainer in his own right in April. However, he has had very few runners so far.

“My first runner, Just A Moova, broke a hip, so it wasn’t a great start,” Kotzen said, remembering that 23 April disaster. Made of stern stuff, he decided “things could only get better”, but the incident did slow down the momentum somewhat.

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