Houtzen set to step up

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - SPORT -

But it’s the com­ments made by Lloyd that has re­ally built ex­pec­ta­tions for to­day’s re­turn by the fly­ing Gold Coast three­year-old.

“Jeff has been very positive. He’s given us a lot of con­fi­dence,” Casey said.

“He rode her in a track gal­lop the op­po­site way be­fore she flew down and thinks she’s go­ing to be very hard to beat.”

Like her Golden Slip­per and Magic Mil­lions starts, Houtzen has drawn close to the out­side in the 1000m sprint, some­thing Casey has sug­gested his trainer do some­thing about.

“I’ve told Toby he needs to go to church on Sun­day and ap­pease the bar­rier gods be­cause we don’t seem to be go­ing too well at the mo­ment,” he said.

Casey is fully aware Houtzen’s spring cam­paign will be tougher than any­thing she has faced in her ca­reer.

“We’re tak­ing on some of the best sprint­ers there is. It’s a huge notch up and she will be tested for sure,” he said.

“Go­ing on the op­po­site way and with the bar­rier, there’s a fair bit against us and I guess that’s why Toby’s try­ing to be con­ser­va­tive.”

Casey and his co-own­ers have sold 10 per cent of Houtzen to Aquis Farm since the Slip­per, with Aquis se­cur­ing Houtzen for its slot in $10 mil­lion The Ever­est (1200m) at Rand­wick in Oc­to­ber.

“The guys in this horse with me have been rac­ing as a group for 20 years and the best we’ve had be­fore her was a Satur­day off-sea­son hand­i­cap­per,” Casey said.

“The Ever­est is be­yond our wildest dreams.”

Pic­ture: GETTY IM­AGES

Gold Coast trainer Toby Ed­monds with Houtzen in Mel­bourne.

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