-->

Toby Edmond’s flying Gold Coast mare Houtzen is set to take on the brilliant Nature Strip again in the Group 1 $500,000 Charter Keck Cramer Moir Stakes (1000m) at The Valley on Friday Night.

Houtzen, above, will take on Nature Strip again in the 2018 Moir Stakes at The Valley. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Houtzen, above, will take on Nature Strip again in the 2018 Moir Stakes at The Valley. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Houtzen ran Nature Strip to a nose when the Darren Weir trained speed machine set a new course record in winning the Group 2 $200,000 Mitty’s McEwen Stakes (1000m) at The Valley on September 8.

Edmonds said that Houtzen has improved off that run and he is excitedly looking forward to the return match in the Group 1 weight for age sprint on Friday night.

“If she’s ever going to figure in a Group 1 this could be the one and we couldn’t have her any better,” Edmonds told Racing.com on Monday.

“After her last race she bounced straight into the feed bin and she was quite bright the next morning and has been ever since.

“There was a lot left in her that day, we thought we went in quite underdone and for her to do that so I was really surprised

“It didn’t flatten her at all and that was my concern in the days after, whether it would flatten her but she’s come through the run really good.

“There’s going to be good speed in the Moir Stakes race so we’re quite confident she can get a nice trailing run and run on nicely.”

Edmonds took Houtzen back the The Valley for a gallop on Monday morning and was very happy with the way the I Am Invincible mare completed her workout.

“She just came along for a maintenance gallop at the Valley this morning (Monday) but she ran up in really quick time and she looked good,” Edmonds said.

Nature’s Strip win in the McEwen Stakes made it four from four since being transferred to the Weir stable and also secured the Nicconi gelding a slot in the $13m The Everest (1200m) at Randwick on October 13.

Weir will use the Moir Stakes as Nature Strip’s final lead up to The Everest where he will run for slot holders the ATC.

Nature Strip has been installed as the early favourite for the Moir Stakes at $2.25 with Ladbrokes.com.au while Houtzen is marked as a $7.50 chance alongside of Brave Smash, and Ball Of Muscle.

Early betting for the 2018 Moir Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $2.25 Nature Strip, $7.50 Ball Of Muscle, Brave Smash, Houtzen, $9 Viddora, $11 Snitty Kitty, Voodoo Lad, $15 Faatinah, $26 Missrock, Jungle Edge, Savanna Amour, Spright, $61 Nieta, $101 Sunday Escape.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.