Houtzen spot-on for Royal Ascot assignment
CONNECTIONS of Australian sprinter Houtzen say they have not travelled to England to make up the numbers and are upbeat about her Royal Ascot chances.
The four-year-old continued her build-up to next week's King's Stand Stakes with a rousing 800m gallop alongside travelling companion Acqume on Wednesday.
Jamie Spencer warmed the saddle for Kerrin McEvoy, her rider in the Group 1 sprint, and trainer Toby Edmonds' son and foreman, Trent, said the four-year-old worked strongly.
"It looked like she went super to us," Trent Edmonds told Sky Sports Radio.
"We've been here for nearly 11 weeks now so she's spot-on.
"We couldn't have her going any better. She's strong, she's well within herself."
Houtzen was competitive at Group 1 level during the Melbourne spring carnival, including a luckless fifth to Viddora in the Moir Stakes at Moonee Valley in September.
She is rated a $21 chance with Ladbrokes for the King's Stand Stakes but Edmonds believes the mare is over the odds.
"If she'd had any luck in the spring we'd have come over here a Group 1 winner and her price in the market is probably half what it is now, maybe less," Edmonds said.
"We're obviously an underdog, she's about 25-1, but if she produces her best I think she can be somewhere thereabouts. We're not here to make the numbers up. We're coming here fully expecting she races to her best."
The Charlie Hills-trained Battaash is $3 favourite for the Royal Ascot feature after scoring a strong first-up win at Haydock, just ahead of last year's winner Blue Point, who is at $4 to land back-to-back wins.