Trainer Toby Edmonds is remaining confident, but quiet of star filly Houtzen’s chances of being crowned the 2017 Golden Slipper winner at Rosehill Gardens on March 18th.
Houtzen has been a standout performer through a short but impressive racing career so far, but announced herself to the greater Australian racing community when she led from start to finish to record a dominant win in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m) in her native Queensland on January 14th.
Having returned to the races to win the Winning Edge Presentations Handicap (1000m) by more than four lengths, with 63kgs in tow at Eagle Farm on Saturday, Edmonds told AAP that he is thrilled to be saddling his first Golden Slipper runner and revealed that the I Am Invincible filly will remain at his base on the Gold Coast until the days leading up the race.
“This will be my first Golden Slipper runner which is exciting in itself,” Edmonds said.
“There is a big contingent of owners and friends who are already booked for a Golden Slipper function at Rosehill on the day so it will be great.
“My job is to stay focused and get Houtzen as fit as she needs to be. She will stay on the Gold Coast until next week.”
Veteran hoop Jeff Lloyd is amazingly yet to ride in the Golden Slipper, but will retain the ride aboard Houtzen in this year’s edition of the world’s richest two-year-old race.
Lloyd said that I was not all smooth sailing for the filly in her return on Saturday, but is confident that she has taken plenty of benefit from the hit-out, in the lead-up to the Golden Slipper 2017.
“The only problem I had on Saturday was the 1000 metre start,” Edmonds said.
“You only get 100 metres before the first turn, so any mistakes out of the barrier can be very costly.
“But she came out quickly and then I was able to ease up to help teach her to settle better in her races.”
Houtzen made her racing debut for a smart four length win in the Sky Thoroughbred Central Handicap (1050m) on Christmas Eve and repeated the dose in the First National Real Estate Handicap (1100m) on January 7th, in what was her only other start prior to the Magic Millions.
Houtzen is currently available at early 2017 Golden Slipper odds of $4.40 with leading online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au.