Brilliant I Am Invincible mare Houtzen found her best form overnight at Glorious Goodwood in the UK to run a bold second in the Group II King George Stakes.
Now trained by Martyn Meade and sporting the Aquis colours Houtzen was ridden quietly early by Ryan Moore, but went to the line strongly to finish second beaten three-quarters of a length in the five furlong sprint behind quality sprinter Battaash, who won the race for the third successive time.
The son of Dark Angel runs for Sheikh Hamdan in the Shadwell colours and will now look to add another Group I win to his already impressive record that saw him crowned Champion Male Sprinter in Europe for 2018.
“I think we’ve got to go for it (the Nunthorpe). There are only so many Group 1 races over five furlongs in England so we’ve got to,” said his trainer Charlie Hills.
“Battaash has never run badly in it and the track should suit him in theory, but I tell you what we might do. We’ve taken him up the night before the last two times and we might take him up in the morning this time. That would be the only difference.”
Martyn Meade was well pleased with Houtzen, who showed her real form after a disappointing effort at Royal Ascot when she was hampered after the start.
“We’ve only had Houtzen a short period of time but she’s adjusted really well and has lived up to what she’s done at home and showed all her ability on the track. She was trained on the track in Australia and I think perhaps the change of environment has helped her too,” said Martyn Meade.
“I now have to convince the owners to keep her in training. The initial plan had been to bring her up here to cover her but she’s a filly with a lot of talent.”
A $105,000 Magic Millions purchase for her former trainer Toby Edmonds from the Yarraman Park draft, Houtzen was bred by the late Noel Leckie and has won seven of 20 starts earning over $2million in prizemoney with highlight wins in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic and Group III ATC PJ Bell Stakes.
She was one of I Am Invincible’s record 28 Australian stakes-winners last season.