Talented filly Houtzen will need to defy history to hand local trainer Toby Edmonds his first ever win in the Magic Millions two-year-old Classic (Race 8) over 1200m on the Gold Coast on Saturday.
Tuesday’s barrier draw has seen a huge shake-up to the market after connections unveiled 21 and Houtzenwill start from the extreme outside alley once the field is reduced to a capacity of 16.
Vancouver’s win in the 2015 Golden Slipper showed that it’s possible for an elite juvenile to overcome the widest of draws but it remains to be seen if this filly is at that level of performance.
Indeed, since the conditions of this event were altered to incorporate both sexes in the early 1990s, no horse has won from ‘the carpark’ and inside barriers have proven hugely decisive.
2,3,3,2,2,4,3 have been the winning gates over the past seven years so the trainers of several leading contenders will be extremely pleased to have drawn towards the inside.
Our traders were hugely impressed by Houtzen’s smart win here last weekend but enthusiasm for the horse has dampened post-draw and we think she’ll have the task in front of her now.
While she’s burned out of the gates and found the early lead in both of her wins to date, jockey Jeff Lloyd contends that she’s capable of winning from a position off the speed based on her trial.
It will thus be interesting to see whether he makes an all-out charge for the lead or is prepared to ride her a little more quietly.
Chris Waller’s From Within has supplanted Houtzen at the top of the market after a favourable draw that will see her start from barrier four if the current emergencies are removed.
Two slashing barrier trials were franked by a really sharp display on debut over 1100m at Canterbury, where she eased away from the likes of Invader and Chauffeur to put herself right in the frame for this.
While we think she’s well above average and set to run well, our traders are happy to accommodate punters wanting to back her given that this appears a pretty capable crop of two-year-olds.
Chris Munce has a well-established history with this race from his days as a jockey and, at the prices, we felt that McLachlan Stakes winner Ours To Keep gave him a terrific chance to notch his first win in the event as a trainer.
With the two fillies flying, he’s become almost the forgotten horse for this but it’s hard to fault any of his three wins to date and he dispatched a number of these in style at Eagle Farm.
The McLachlan has proven a more than useful form line in recent times with the likes of Unencumbered(2014), Driefontein (2012) and Military Rose (2010) able to complete the double.
Munce has been keen to talk up the prospects of his charge and we’re inclined to agree.
He’s a natural racehorse who gives himself every chance to win and that’s an essential trait for this race.
Madeenaty was the early favourite for this race when markets were released several weeks ago but has slipped down the pecking order of late despite hanging on to win the Classic at Wyong.
Capitalist came through that event before romping to victory last year but the subsequent defeat of runner-up Single Bullet at Warwick Farm last Saturday leaves the form a little questionable.
We must admit to finding it a little bit hard to weigh up his chances given the inside draw and have kept him onside for the time being as we await any market confidence on the day.
Gai Waterhouse is another to have a real affinity with this race and she’ll be represented by Invincible Star, who had the better of Madeenaty down the Flemington straight on Cup Day.
However, it remains to be seen whether the decision to send her to the Gold Coast without another lead-in run will prove fruitful and given the poor draw we are happy to take her on.
Of the others, both Goodfella and Bring It Home Pop have claims after running competitive races behind Ours to Keep in the McLachlan.
The wide draws won’t make it any easier for them to turn the tables though and it’s a telling statistic that the last seven winners have also won at their previous start heading into the race.
Which probably leaves Falconic, from the same yard as current Slipper favourite She Will Reign, as the best option for each-way backers based on his handy win at Rosehill on Christmas Eve.
1. Ours to Keep
2. From Within