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By Toby Edmonds with Graham Potter | Friday, May 3, 2019

The Toby Edmonds trained Houtzen has taken aim at the King Stand Stakes in which she will try to emulate the feat of four other Australian stars who triumphed in the race at Royal Ascot. If successful, Houtzen would be the first Australian horse to salute in the race for a decade following the incredible period when the Australian flag flew highest in four of the seven runnings of the race between 2003 and 2009. Choisir blazed the early trail, winning in 2003. Takeover Target won in 2006. Miss Andretti won in 2007 and Scenic Blast took out the 2009 edition of the race. Houtzen has been given plenty of time to acclimatise to English conditions having already been based at Newmarket for a number of weeks. In the coming weeks, either trainer Toby Edmonds or Trent Edmonds, who is already over in England supervising Houtzen’s schedule, will contribute a regular blog, exclusive to HRO, detailing the progress of Houtzen as she moves towards taking her place in the Kings Stand, her first overseas assignment. Today, Toby Edmonds kicks off this HRO exclusive.

“Where’s Houtzen up to at the moment would be a good place to start.

“Last Tuesday was seven weeks out from the race. She’s galloping now. She had a gallop on Tuesday morning. She galloped 600m under a nice hold.
“We’ve got our own work rider there … Peter Brown. He went over with Trent. He works at home with us so he’s attending to that side of things.

“She looks to be handling everything well. She is a good traveller. We are happy with the way she is eating and doing things. She has settled in well at Newmarket.

“She is going to go down to Ascot for a look. I know they race there next week but that’s maybe just a little bit early. It is just about getting confirmation of what day we can go. We will possibly go there twice before the race-day and gallop her down there.

“It’s about an hour and twenty … hour and thirty-minute trip. Maybe a bit longer with a horse float but we’ll take her down there, gallop her down there and get her used to it.

“When we get the official go ahead to visit Ascot and what day that will be… I’ll go over for that piece of work. I’ll spend a day or two over there and have a good look.
“From there we’ll finalise plans for the rest of her preparation. There are another three races available for her so, as long as she goes well, we’ll probably stay on for another one.

“The organisation and our relationship with the racing authorities over there has been unbelievable.

“There is no stress. No issues. Nothing to worry about in that regard … everything has just been done on a very professional level. Anyone travelling there … well, you can be confident you will be looked after.

“Adrian Beaumont, Director of Racing Services for the International Racing Bureau, is a first-class guy. He has really put out well, maybe not the red carpet, but certainly he’s done everything he can do to make things go smoothly for us.

“It is early days, but it is a case of so far, so good.

The countdown has yet to begin in earnest though but the stable will keep HRO readers informed on a regular basis in coming weeks as to Houtzen’s progress.”


Adrian Beaumont, who Toby Edmonds referred to in his blog, was interviewed on Sky racing back in mid 2018. In that interview he provided some background into the Australian campaign at Royal Ascot over the years which makes interesting reading here as a backdrop to Houtzen’s challenge.

“(in 2003) My agent in Sydney, Jack Petley, said we have got this really nice sprinter in Sydney called Choisir. They said he’ll come across and he’ll do a good job,” explained Beaumont.

“So, we brought him over and he won the King Stand Stakes on the Tuesday and we ran him back on the Saturday and he won the Jubilee … the Diamond Jubilee as it was back then. I couldn’t believe that he did the double. It was wonderful.

"And, the great joke in Australia was that you said that he wasn’t even the best horse in Australia at the time … so that encouraged all future Australian trainers to come across on the basis that, if Choisir can do it, so can we.

“We then had a whole sequence of pretty decent horses coming over. We had Takeover Target which was a whole load of fun with Joe Janiak. We had Scenic Blast and, of course, the great Miss Andretti who was probably the most impressive winner you sent over.

“Black Caviar was something else. I’ve been doing this job for thirty years and it was the most pressure I ever felt. I was watching the race with Peter Moody and the owners and they flashed on the big screen here to the big square in Melbourne and I realised then that Australia was cheering for this horse.

“She wasn’t the easiest of horses to train. She used to swim every afternoon. When she came over she was out of season. She was like a big, woolly teddy bear … but Peter Moody did an amazing job with her.

"Luke Nolen … perhaps he didn’t ride the greatest race of his life but he got the job done and that’s what matters.”

And here we are now … moving on to the next chapter.

Watch this space!

More articles

Trent and Toby Edmonds … remembering the good times with Houtzen's wins at home …
Trent and Toby Edmonds … remembering the good times with Houtzen's wins at home …
… Now for the next step
… Now for the next step
Photos: Graham Potter
Photos: Graham Potter
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