By Ray Hickson
If She Will Reign is a chance then Houtzen is a chance.
That’s the line of thinking trainer Toby Edmonds is taking into Saturday’s $10 million TAB Everest (1200m) at Royal Randwick with the Magic Millions winning filly.
The discrepancy in the market between Houtzen ($26) and Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign ($4.60 favourite) is something Edmonds can’t quite work out given the circumstances of the one time they clashed.
That was in the Slipper where Houtzen finished fifth after failing to handle the heavy ground.
“I can tell you now, if she gets a fair and even chance she’ll run well,’’ Edmonds said.
“And if She Will Reign is one of the chances I’m pretty confident on a fair track if we didn’t beat her in the Slipper we would have been close to her.
“I think she will finish closer to first than last.’’
It’s fair to say Houtzen and She Will Reign took very different paths to The Everest though both fillies have come through races at Moonee Valley.
Houtzen was beaten into third first-up by Russian Revolution in the McEwen Stakes before stepping back against the fillies to win the Group 3 Scarborough Stakes (1200m) last month.
She Will Reign, meanwhile, was able to beat the older horses in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m) on the same program.
Straight after Houtzen’s win Edmonds hardly seemed like a trainer eager to climb Everest but he said that interview was based on first impression and not deeper thought.
“In the initial stages I was disappointed, I thought the margin was only poor,’’ he said.
“I was critical but Jeff (Lloyd) said ‘I could have won by as far as I wanted to win’. If he’d opened her up from the 600m and given her a real good gallop he said she would have smashed them.
“So I have to be guided by that.’’
What needs to happen for Houtzen to beat the best sprinters in Australia from barrier one around the tough Randwick 1200m?
This is how Edmonds sees it: “She can’t make a mistake. We need track conditions to suit, if some rain comes across we don’t want a choppy or shifty track. Tempo is a big thing and she will do the rest.
“If we don’t make our minds up whether we go out and run it hard we could end up in an awkward spot back on the fence. But we have a few days to work that out.’’