Aquis boss asks for barrier one in Everest and staffer delivers for Gold Coast sprinter Houtzen

Oct 10, 2017

Aquis Australia chairman Tony Fung had a single directive to Jimmy Unwala ahead of the barrier draw for The Everest – just get slot one thanks.

So what else is a good employee to do but carry out the request. Aquis Farm’s NSW nominations manager Unwala provided the Toby Edmonds-trained filly Houtzen with the perfect starting point for the $10 million race on Saturday at Randwick.

“We are absolutely delighted,” Aquis Australia CEO Shane McGrath said.

“We were having dinner (on Monday) night and Jimmy said to Tony what’s your superstitions, are you lucky?

“(Fung) said just pick barrier one. I don’t know if it was by design or something else but we ended up with barrier one. The boss got his wish and Jimmy still has a job.”

Yesterday’s draw is in stark contrast to the Magic Millions 2YO Classic at the Gold Coast in January when she had to come from the outside gate in the 16-horse field before going on to a scintillating win.

McGrath said the barrier position increased their confidence in the three-year-old’s Everest chances.

“We know she has unbelievable speed,” McGrath said.

“The work she had to do in the Magic Millions from the barrier to get to the position she did was massive.

“She has a super cruising speed and will be giving us something to cheer.

“Hopefully the pride of Queensland will have all the Queenslanders cheering her home when she is three in front and giving them all something to chase.”

Gold Coast-based Edmonds was more than happy to see Houtzen’s change in fortune.

“It’s unusual, she normally draws the outside,” Houtzen’s trainer Toby Edmonds said after the draw which was conducted on a boat on Sydney Harbour this morning.

The inside draw in the 1200m sprint will be a huge advantage for the three-year-old filly as she chases the $5.8 million first prizemoney on Saturday.

Edmonds left the door ajar to roll along in front at a strong tempo and try to pinch the race with her light weight (51kg).

“We won’t be showing our hand this far out but we can do that (if we want),” Edmonds said.

“It’s probably a race where tactically we’re going to have to be better than them and that’s probably the only way if we are going to be in the finish.

“I’m not too sure what that is yet but it is looking more likely from the good draw now that we will be up on the speed.”

Houtzen ($26) goes into The Everest, the world’s richest horse race run on grass, as a last-start winner.

She led all the way to take out the Group 3 Scarborough Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley in Melbourne on September 29.

“She was fortunate to draw a (good) barrier at Moonee Valley the other night and she took advantage of that and was very strong,” Edmonds said.

Houtzen has remained in Melbourne since the win but will travel to Sydney on Wednesday night.

Edmonds said Houtzen had been working well as she built up to her third start this preparation.

“It’s been our plan to have her really peaking third-up and at her best,” he said.

“Her work at Caulfield this morning was exceptional. She worked the reverse way and she actually flew.

“She worked on her own and I’m very happy.”

Houtzen won four of her five starts as a two-year-old last season, with her only loss a fifth placing to She Will Reign in the Golden Slipper (1200m) on a bog track at Rosehill in March.

The two fillies will clash again in The Everest, where they will carry just 51kg against the older horses.

She Will Reign drew gate two and has been installed as $4.60 favourite.

News: Gold Coast Bulletin