Houtzen (left) will back up from her P J Bell Stakes win to contest the Arrowfield 3YO Sprint.
Glyn Schofield reckons an invigorated Houtzen can strengthen her claims for another shot at The Everest through the Group Two Arrowfield Sprint at Randwick.
The Gold Coast-trained filly ran as the Aquis Farm representative in last October’s inaugural $10 million sprint.
Trainer Toby Edmonds brought Houtzen to Sydney for the Listed Fireball Stakes (1100m) last month when she ran third as the $2.90 favourite behind I Am Excited.
She maintained her perfect second-up record when Schofield guided her to a dogged victory in the Group Three P J Bell Stakes (1200m) at Randwick last Saturday.
In a tight finish Houtzen got home by a short neck from Manicure and Demerara who finished in a dead-heat for second.
“She’s bounced back to top form and clearly she’s come out of the race well,” Schofield said.
“Toby was adamant there was improvement in her after the Fireball and he was spot-on.”
Although the $13 million Everest is soem months away, Schofield thinks Houtzen is well placed to stake her claims again.
“If she wins on Saturday maybe yes if someone wants her to go that way,” he said.
“There’s a lot to like about the way she fought in the P J Bell. It wasn’t like she blew them away but in a strongly run race when she was challenged she stuck her head out and wouldn’t lay down.”
Houtzen was rated a $7.50 chance with the TAB on Friday while Schofield agreed favourite Viridine would be hard to beat.
“Viridine is clearly the danger and although he hasn’t won a Group One when he gets it altogether he’s a smart horse,” he said.
Godolphin head trainer James Cummings is encouraged by Viridine’s work as he returns to racing after a third in the Group One Galaxy (1100m) at Rosehill on March 24.
“Viridine came out of the Galaxy in good shape and for us he just looks that little bit better going into the Arrowfield at set weights against three-year-olds,” he said.
The David Pfieffer-trained I Am Excited is the $4.40 second elect as she steps up in grade from her recent Listed wins in the Fireball Stakes and Darby Munro Stakes.
“Three weeks between runs will do her the world of good and we’ve got ideal conditions,” Pfieffer said.
“It’s a very strong field. You could run it ten times and find five different winners.”