Racing

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Poor start curtails Houtzen's Ascot hopes

Queensland mare Houtzen has finished a disappointing eighth in the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot following a slip at the starting barrier.

The Toby Edmonds-trained four-year-old went off at $25 with the local bookmakers, but hopes of shocking the home contingent in the 1000 metre Group One showpiece were essentially over before the race even began.

As the barrier flew open, the former Magic Millions winner went down low on her front legs, with jockey Kerrin McEvoy doing an outstanding job to get her to go forward in the wet conditions.

However, that poor start never allowed her to get into real contention for a place as last year's winner Blue Point edged out favourite Battaash for the second successive year in a repeat of last year's 1-2.

Soldier's Call, a winner at the Royal meeting last year, finished in third.

Billed as a match between the big two, it developed into everything local race fans wanted inside the final furlong - but Charlie Appleby's five-year-old Blue Point was pulling away at the line.

In the early stages Jim Crowley on Battaash was tracking Houtzen, but they were on their own and just after halfway Crowley took the decision to track over towards the main group.

As Blue Point moved to the head of that pack Battaash travelled up strongly alongside him, only for James Doyle's mount to see it out the strongest.

--End of article--

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