Australian trainer Toby Edmonds made a fleeting visit to Ascot on Monday morning to check on his stable star Houtzen, who continued her preparation for the King’s Stand Stakes at next month’s Royal Ascot with a four-furlong gallop at the Berkshire track.
The daughter of Australian sire sensation I Am Invincible worked under Oisin Murphy alongside stablemate Acqume, with her trainer and jockey suitably impressed with what the five-year-old produced.
Edmonds said: "It was good to get down there and have a look at the track. It’s daunting with the grandstand where it is and it’s such an uphill track, so it’s good for her to get a feel of it.
"We don’t gallop them to break each other. She can go pretty fast if she wants to but it’s not about that, it’s more about getting a bit of fitness into her and getting some experience of the track.
“Oisin rode her and he was very happy with her. She sat behind Acqume until they got into the work, then she just moved up the outside and they came up to the line together pretty strongly."
Houtzen, a dual Group 3 winner in her native Australia who has been stabled at Newmarket’s Abington Place since her arrival on March 28, could remain in Britain here for a tilt at the King George Stakes and the Nunthorpe if all goes to plan at Ascot.
"The advantage of bringing her over so early is that she’s somewhat acclimatised and she’s getting used to straight galloping, especially on an incline which we don’t have at home. All of that can only be good for her.
"Even though she hasn’t been abroad, she’s done a lot of travelling up and down Australia. She’s always been adept so I wasn’t concerned about that, I just wanted to see a bit of fitness today.
"We’re four weeks out from Ascot so it was good to get my eyes on her. It’s a bit of a learning curve for us, learning how to train them on straight tracks, but we’re confident she’ll run well and will be very competitive.
Houtzen is a general 25-1 for the King's Stand Stakes, for which Blue Point heads the betting at 7-2.
Her travelling companion Acqume, a Listed-placed daughter of Sepoy, holds an entry for a six furlong handicap at Goodwood on Friday but could potentially bypass that assignment in favour of a five-furlong contest at York the following day.
Edmonds was due to fly back to Australia on Monday night and is hoping to return to Britain after the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap in Brisbane on June 8.