By Ray Hickson
Trainer Toby Edmonds says the ability to plan an ideal path to The Everest is proving a big advantage with classy filly Houtzen.
The Magic Millions winner was one of the first horses secured by a slot holder, in her case Aquis Farm, for the $10 million sprint feature at Randwick on October 14.
And after viewing Sky's 'Trek To The Everest' on Tuesday night, Edmonds said it's a blessing to have had her spring goal set.
''I watched the program and I thought to myself having a horse chosen three weeks out wouldn't be good from my point of view,'' he said.
''We were pleased to get it tidied up after Slipper time.
''It's possibly a big ask but if She Will Reign is up to them - I'm confident if the track was fair and even on Slipper day we would have been in the finish.
''She's already handled the high pressure of a Magic Millions drawn the outside barrier and I'm happy to meet them at weight-for-age with no weight.''
After winning her first four starts Houtzen lost her unbeaten record when she finished fifth behind She Will Reign in the Golden Slipper.
Edmonds said he's been pleased with the filly's build up to the first of two lead up runs for The Everest at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
In the McEwen Stakes (1000m) she will clash with Galaxy winner Russian Revolution, who managed to run down Redzel to win that Group 1 in the autumn. Redzel, one of the ATC's five short listed horses for their slot, is last week's Concorde Stakes winner and on the same line of betting at $11 as Houtzen for The Everest.
''I wanted to start off in a couple of short course races, she's such a speedy filly, and work her up to 1200m,'' Edmonds said.
''None of them are easy races but historically the sprint races in Melbourne have been short on numbers.
''There's only seven in the race on Saturday so it's not a real rough and ready event.
''She has a fair bit left in the tank, she's had a trial and a couple of sharp gallops.
''We haven't turned the tap yet so whatever she does she will improve on.
''Obviously The Everest is the target but we're mindful that these are Group races and can enhance her pedigree.''
As for the clash with Russian Revolution, Edmonds said the 8.5kg weight pull in his filly's favour is a nice plus to have.
''The weight difference is a big advantage for us. I don't think any of them will want to make a mistake,'' he said.