A last-minute decision to stick to tried-and-true tactics with Houtzen has paid off big-time with the free-wheeling filly a brilliant winner of the $2 million Magic Millions Two-Year-Old Classic at the Gold Coast.
Houtzen signalled she could be the fourth horse to win the Magic Millions-Golden Slipper double with a display of pace which had Saturday’s big Gold Coast crowd roaring.
Houtzen ($4) crossed from the widest barrier to lead and held on to win by a half length to Chauffeur ($19) with 2-1/4 lengths to Madeenaty ($9) in third place.
It was a triumph for trainer Toby Edmonds and jockey Jeff Lloyd who have swept all before them in the current Brisbane racing season.
Lloyd has had 79 rides for Edmonds this season for 32 winners but none was more important than Houtzen.
The filly will now bid to join Dance Hero (2004), Phelan Ready (2009) and Capitalist (2016) as Magic Millions-Golden Slipper winners.
Edmonds said he had been behind with the filly after missing a barrier trial because of wet weather before her first start.
“We had to delay her first run and after she won we didn’t look as though we would have enough prize money to make the field. I had to run her last Saturday,” Edmonds said.
“Then we drew the outside barrier and we were studying the race daily to decide on tactics.
“When we got to the track I decided bugger it, lets stick with what we know – let her get out and run from the start.”
It went exactly to plan with Houtzen on the fence and leading after the first 250 metres of the 1200m-race.
Edmonds said Houtzen would now press on to the $3.5 million Golden Slipper on March 18 after having a short break.
Houtzen, a $105,000 yearling, took her prize money to $1.28 million but only $80,000 of that will count towards the Golden Slipper as the Millions is a sales-restricted race.
“But winning the Magic Millions means everything to us. The Gold Coast is my home track and most of the owners are from the Gold Coast. Anything else will be a bonus,” Edmonds sad.
Lloyd said it had been a wonderful 12 months.
“A year ago I was struggling to get a ride or two for this meeting and here I am today winning the race,” Lloyd said.
He praised the determination of Houtzen to overcome her bad barrier.
“It was a very tough win because she had to do it both ends,” he said.
Lloyd was concerned the big crowd and occasion might have got to Houtzen before the race as she was very revved up.
“I was concerned when she went around to the barriers a bit keen. She deserves a little holiday but it is up to Toby,” Lloyd said.
Josh Parr, who was having his first Millions Classic ride on last year’s $1.6 million sale topper Chauffeur, said while he was disappointed at the result, the colt would be a force to be reckoned with during the autumn.
“I am shattered we haven’t won but he has confirmed what we always felt and that is he going to be a very good colt,” Parr said.
Mark Zahara said Madeenaty got tired chasing Houtzen and the winner was too slick for her.
Houtzen has firmed to $6 favouritism for the Golden Slipper.