Brilliant filly Houtzen is likely to press forward from a wide barrier and race on the pace again in the Group 2 $200,000 Mitty’s McEwen Stakes (1000m) at The Valley on Saturday.
Houtzen has drawn barrier six in the seven horse McEwen Stakes field with the speedy filly Heatherly to jump from gate three with Damian Lane in the saddle.
Gold Coast trainer Toby Edmonds had indicated that Houtzen could take a sit behind the speed if she had drawn an inside barrier but another wide draw would see her use her natural speed again.
“If she draws a nice barrier and they go quick then she can just sit behind them but if she doesn’t draw a barrier then we might have to bang her up on the speed again,,” Edmonds told racing.com. before the final field was released on Wednesday.
Houtzen has led in all of her five race starts which resulted in four wins, including a victory in the 2017 $2m Jeep Magic Millions 2yo Classic (1200m) at the Gold Coast in January.
The I Am Invincible filly suffered her only defeat when fifth to She Will Reign in the Group 1 $3.5m Longines Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill during the 2017 Sydney Autumn Carnival.
Houtzen had her first look at The Valley on Tuesday morning and Edmonds was happy with the way she handled the gallop on the tricky circuit for Regan Bayliss.
Craig Williams takes the ride on Saturday in the McEwen stakes, replacing Brisbane’s premiership winning jockey Jeff Lloyd who has been the filly’s sole rider to date.
“She got around good, it was her first time around here obviously, although she’d galloped a couple of times at home in the reverse way,” Edmonds said.
“Regan Bayliss rode her and he was very happy with her, he said she got on the right leg, sat outside another horse and never wandered about or anything.”
After the McEwen Stakes, Houtzen will have one more run in Melbourne before heading back to Sydney for the $10m The Everest (1200m) at Randwick on October 14 with Edmonds to pick between the Group 1 $500,000 Moir Stakes (1000m) or the Group 3 $150,000 Scarborough Stakes (1200m) at The Valley on September 29.
“Her next run will be on Moir night but I’m not sure whether it will be in the Moir Stakes or in the 1200m fillies race that night,” Edmonds said.
“She’ll only have the two runs and then The Everest and that is set in stone now.”
Houtzen is the current $2.50 favourite on Thursday at Ladbrokes.com.au for the McEwen Stakes while in The Everest betting the speedy filly is rated as an $11 chance.