Barrier 11 for Houtzen in King’s Stand

Australian mare Houtzen will start from barrier 11 of 12 in her bid for Royal Ascot glory in the King’s Stand Stakes.

Race favourite Battaash has drawn alongside her in the outside gate for the straight track 1000m-sprint on Tuesday (Wednesday AEST) the opening day of the meeting.

Last year’s winner Blue Point is on the opposite side of the field in barrier one.

Kerrin McEvoy, who will ride the Toby Edmonds-trained Houtzen, gave the mare a quiet work-out over the weekend.

The jockey then went to Doncaster on Sunday and rode a winner for Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby.

McEvoy will have several rides for Appleby at Royal Ascot and is likely to stay in England until the July Cup meeting with Godolphin jockey William Buick sidelined because of ongoing issues following a concussion.

Houtzen is at 25-1 with British bookmakers with Blue Point at 2-1.

The mare has had one start on a straight course when ninth of 20, beaten just over four lengths, in the 2017 Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington won by Merchant Navy, winner of last year’s Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot.

The Appleby-trained Blue Point wore down Battaash in 2018 and has won his three starts in Dubai this year.

Battaash, trained by Charlie Hills, is in similarly fine form after an impressive start to his campaign in last month’s Temple Stakes at Haydock.

Hills also saddles up Equilateral who will be ridden by leading Sydney jockey James McDonald.

New Zealander Enzo’s Lad is the rank outsider at 50-1 and has barrier nine.

Australian sprinters have won the King’s Stand four times, most recently a decade ago with Scenic Blast.

The other winners have been Choisir (2003), Takeover Target (2006) and Miss Andretti (2007).