High profile Aussie jockeys Kerrin McEvoy and James McDonald will face off when they ride Houtzen and Equilateral in the Group 1 £500,000 King’s Stand Stakes (5 furlongs) at Royal Ascot in England on June 18.
McEvoy has held a long standing booking to ride the Toby Edmonds trained Houtzen while McDonald will team up with English trainer Charlie Hills on Equilateral.
Houtzen has been at Newmarket for a couple of months preparing for the King’s Stand Stakes and McEvoy heads to England in great form after riding a Group 1 winning double at Eagle Farm last Saturday.
McEvoy teamed up with Prince Fawaz to win the $600,000 Magic Millions J.J. Atkins Plate (1600m) and then two races later saluted on Trekking in the $1.5m Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).
Houtzen is rated a $26 chance for the King’s Stand Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au but the stable is happy with her progress leading up to the Royal Ascot Carnival.
“It’s going to be a great occasion, it always is, and to be involved in one of the best races of the week is very exciting,” McEvoy told the Racing Post.
“There are some very talented local sprinters in Blue Point and Battaash, but my filly has always performed very well off a break and she’s had a good bit of time to acclimatise. I know they’re very happy with her.”
McDonald has ridden for Hills before when he partnered Equilateral into twelfth place in the Group 1 £500,000 Commonwealth Cup (6 furlongs) at Royal Ascot last year and Hills is glad to have Sydney’s premier jockey riding for the stable again.
“James McDonald is coming over for Royal Ascot and is going to be riding plenty of horses for Juddmonte. He rode the horse last year in the Commonwealth Cup, so knows him and I’m looking forward to him riding,” Hills said.
“He’s superb and rode 100 winners in Sydney this season – he’s one of the best jockeys in the world.”
“Equilateral could well line up in the King’s Stand. We’ll probably make a final decision on declaration day on Sunday, just so we know where we are with the ground.
“He’s a horse I’ve always had a lot of time for and think he was unfortunate not to win his last start. He’s got blistering pace and I’m sure he will run a big race wherever he goes next.”
Equilateral is quoted at $17 for the King’s Stand Stakes with Ladbrokes.com.au and the four year old is coming off a last start second in the Group 3 £60,000 Zoustar Palace House Stakes (5 furlongs) at Newmarket on May 4.
Hills will also saddle up the well-performed Battaash who is the current $3 favourite for the King’s Stand Stakes and is coming off a last start win in the Group 2 £100,000 Armstrong Aggregates Temple Stakes (5 furlongs) at Haydock Park on May 25.
Early betting for the 2019 King’s Stand Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $3 Battaash, $4 Blue Point, $9 Mabs Cross, $11 Imprimis, Sergi Prokofiev, $13 Soldiers Call, $17 Equilateral, Invincible Army, So Perfect, $21 Bound For Nowhere, Ten Sovereigns, $26 Big Brothers Pride, Houtzen.