Houtzen set for return in Fireball Stakes

Houtzen
Houtzen returns this Saturday at Randwick.

Flying filly Houtzen is primed for her return in the Fireball Stakes at Randwick, the starting point in a campaign aimed at getting a Group One win beside her name.

The 2017 Magic Millions winner started favourite in last year’s Golden Slipper but floundered in the heavy ground to finish fifth.

Gold Coast trainer Toby Edmonds has had her in Sydney for a couple of weeks and she won a barrier trial on February 27 by two lengths from Group One winner Happy Clapper.

She will run as favourite in Saturday’s Listed Fireball Stakes (1100m) while Happy Clapper lines up as one of the leading contenders in the Group One Canterbury Stakes.

Edmonds has been pleased with her work and is confident the three-year-old will acquit herself well in a race earmarked as a starting point for a crack at the Group One Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m) in Adelaide on May 5.

“She showed her natural speed in the trial and in the middle stages she was able to put together a couple of quick sectionals,” Edmonds said.

“Everything has been positive.”

Glyn Schofield was also in the saddle for her trackwork on Tuesday and was encouraged about the sprinter’s return.

“I trialled her last week, galloped her this week and she’s been very pleasing,” he said.

“She had a tough campaign so she deserved a break. She seems to have come back pretty well.”

Edmonds said Houtzen, who finished seventh in the inaugural $10 million Everest on October, had thrived during a spell since she was unplaced in the Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington in November.

“She had eight weeks off and she’s come back a little bit stronger. This run should top her right off,” he said.

“She’s maturing all the time. She’s big and strong now. She’s getting towards where she’s growing into mare.”

Edmonds said her next start would be governed by her performance in the Fireball Stakes.

While an Adelaide raid took precedence, Edmonds said a return to Randwick for the second edition of The Everest was a long-term goal.

“If she continues to race well, and has the will to race we’ll probably head that way,” he said.