Kerrin McEvoy Rides Houtzen At Royal Ascot

Gold Coast trainer Toby Edmonds believes Kerrin McEvoy will be the key to his mare Houtzen performing at her best in the G1 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot next Tuesday.

Houtzen is the latest Australian sprinter to take on the Royal Ascot challenge with Edmonds preferring to start the mare in Tuesday’s £500,000 King's Stand Stakes over the straight five furlongs course instead of the £600,000 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at six furlongs on Saturday week.

He confirmed on Thursday that McEvoy will ride Houtzen, the first time the champion Australian jockey has linked with the mare in her 18-start career.

Houzten, a Magic Millions Classic winner as a 2YO, has not won since her success in the G3 PJ Bell Stakes at Randwick 14 months ago.

The daughter of I Am Invincible was 10th at her latest start at the Gold Coast in January but Edmonds is not dwelling on that form after pleasing work by the mare since she arrived in the UK.

He also sees McEvoy’s UK experience and knowledge of Ascot as an asset for Houtzen.

"Kerrin is a world-renowned rider. We'll see where we draw Sunday before talking tactics,” Edmonds said.

“She is pretty quick and we'll look to pick them off late. I wouldn't want too much rain and it will be great if the ground is good.

"We're coming up against great horses in Blue Point and Battaash. It is a big field and it is going to be very competitive but Houtzen is very sharp so we're hopeful.”

“It is good to be here and great to get her seasoned for a big race like this.”

Meanwhile New Zealand sprinter Enzo’s Lad will be ridden by young UK jockey David Egan in the King’s Stand Stakes.

Enzo's Lad will become just the second New Zealand-trained horse to run at Royal Ascot following Seachange, who was 12th in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes in 2008.

"It might be a shock to some people, but I'm going to let young David Egan ride him at Ascot on Tuesday,” reported trainer Michael Pitman.

“We've had a lot of success by putting young and ambitious people on our horses.

“I could've shopped round and got a rider with more experience, but we're all for giving young people a chance. They have to start somewhere.

“David has a good reputation and we're delighted that he will partner the horse.”

Enzo’s Lad is a dual G1 winner in New Zealand including back-to-back victories in the G1 Telegraph Stakes at Trentham.

However he failed at his first international start when last of nine in the G1 Chairman's Sprint Prize at Sha Tin in Hong Kong on April 28 en route to the UK.

"Enzo's Lad went to Hong Kong and he didn't fire. He is no good right-handed,” Pitman said.

“It was pointed out that Blue Point was also last in Hong Kong and won the King's Stand the season after, so I hope history repeats.”

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